Who will step forward to make 2020 good again?

Shaping peace together in the middle of a pandemic

📷 LWF/Johanan Celine Valeriano

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

In 2020, the theme for the UN international day of peace was “Shaping Peace Together.” The theme for the Geneva Peace Week on the first week of November is “Rebuilding trust after disruption: Pathways to reset international cooperation.” In a world still plagued by war, conflict, and extremism, the struggle for solidarity to resist forces that separate and incite us to hate remains. When will we truly experience world peace? While we have been preoccupied with public health and economic troubles during this time of pandemic, we recognize the immense toil on our mental health and spiritual well-being. In a recent public webinar reflecting on how faith communities can respond to the digital age — now further intensified, one panelist remarked on her experience, “We were all stressed, we were all suffering, and we were all online.” Finding true inner peace seems distant too.

It is easy to forget that Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the peacemakers” were spoken during a time of deep conflict and frustration among people who were occupied by foreign political powers as well as oppressed by religious and economic forces. Underneath the slogan of ‘peace’ in the public imagination for some Judeans and Galileans was a belief that God would help them to wage war against the Romans. For some in the crowd listening to Jesus, to establish God’s kingdom would inevitably include violent revolution as a means to achieve liberation. Perhaps, the powerful warrior who could crush the enemy or the tactically superior militant politician was the ideal hero. But Jesus turned this upside down when he lifts up the “poor in spirit”, “those who mourn”, “the meek”, “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”, “the merciful”, “the pure in heart”, “those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake”, and “the peacemakers”. The Kingdom of God is assigned to those who appear to be the most powerless to make a difference.

Today, in the middle of a pandemic, we might feel worn out as the end of the year approaches. Many are mourning the loss of livelihood or a loved one. Even the most resilient and advocates for putting the world right might have grown weary. In our most vulnerable moment, God comes to us and blesses us. God lifts us up. Yes, Jesus’ words of blessing over us empower us to “work for peace’ overcoming one disruption after another. As children of God, we are called to the ongoing work of shaping peace together for the good of all who are stressed, suffering, and yearning for justice, peace, and reconciliation at home, in their countries, and ultimately in this life and the life to come.

Originally published in Season of the Spirit: LWF Communion Prayer for Pentecost WEEK 23 #LWFPentecost #Reformation #PrayingCommunion

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