Live in Peace
Andrew Bolton, World Church Peace and Justice Team
The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. -Isaiah 11:6
The first time I saw the church seal was at the Springe congregation near Hannover, Germany. Perhaps that is when I first learned frieden, the German word for peace, inscribed below the lion, child, and lamb of the church seal. I was 21 years old and doing a practical year at a tree and shrub nursery. I was also searching for a Christian fellowship that was more meaningful. I was introduced to Community of Christ through a student, John Menzies, on a boat crossing the North Sea from England to Germany.
My father was a British soldier for seven years in World War II and suffered horrific experiences. So it felt risky for me to be working in Germany. But that first Sunday morning I understood the significance of the church seal immediately. The German church members embodied the message of the church seal. They were amazingly loving to me even though I was British and socially awkward. They also were excited about peace and justice. I remember John was passionate about the environment. Uffa was interested in racial justice, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement in the USA. Helmut was facing the German draft and very unsure what he should do. The Vietnam War was still ongoing. The song “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing in Perfect Harmony” was popular.
Since then the church seal has continued to grow on me and bless me. It is “visual theology” for us. I have also studied the passage that inspired it, Isaiah 11:1-10. It is when the Messiah, Jesus, comes into our hearts that peace on earth can happen. It is when we demonstrate Christ’s peace together that the world will see hope and a different, better way. Advent! The Prince of Peace is coming! Be ready!
“Trust what is being born” (Stephen M. Veazey, Words of Counsel, 2019).
Deepen your breathing as you enter a few moments of silent presence to God. Pay attention first to your own life as you gently ask and notice, “What is most alive in me right now? What is being born in me?” After a few moments of silent listening, ask these questions of your community, the church, and the world. Notice how the Spirit is revealing new life and possibility as you prayerfully ask these questions over time.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.