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Being a Peacemaker

“Being a peacemaker means my prayer becomes visible in concrete action.”  -Father John Dear

For much of the past year, I have felt God leading me deeper into what it means to be a peacemaker in our community, and more specifically what peacemaking looks like in the world of children’s ministry. A year ago, I had the opportunity to participate in an Immigrants’ Journey Immersion Trip to the San Diego/Tijuana border under the leadership of Jon Huckins of The Global Immersion Project. The focus of this experience was “everyday peacemaking” through the lens of immigration. (To hear more about that experience, please click here.) Then in February of this year, I attended a conference at the University of San Diego titled “Revolution of the Heart: The Counter-Cultural Spirituality of Henri Nouwen.”

Henri Nouwen was a beloved Catholic Priest, professor, theologian, author and peacemaker with a heart for social justice. He had very profound relationships with many people throughout his life, one of them being Father John Dear, a priest, author and social activist. Father John Dear was one of the speakers at the Revolution of the Heart conference, and what he shared aligned beautifully with Henri Nouwen’s practices of peacemaking. That is, there are three spiritual movements in the revolution of the heart regarding peacemaking. First is the Inner Revolution of the Heart, which begins with prayer. We must allow God to disarm us as we pray, followed by us having mercy on ourselves, so that we can go forward as public peacemakers. The second spiritual movement is the Public Life of the Heart, which involves revolutionary nonviolence. The third spiritual movement is Working for a New Culture of the Heart. This is the Kingdom of God here on earth.

In other words, peacemaking involves prayerfully stepping outside of our own safety and comfort, often at the most inconvenient times. Shane Claiborne, a prominent peacemaker and social justice advocate, was another speaker at the Revolution of the Heart conference. He pointed out that we can’t anticipate the interruptions that require peace. A quick peek at the life of Jesus makes that quite clear… the good Samaritan… running out of wine at a wedding… Jairus’ daughter needing healing… Shane said, “The Spirit moves in the interruptions, and we often have no room for the interruptions.”

Friends, let us begin by praying for open eyes, ears and hearts so that we may recognize these interruptions as opportunities for peacemaking, whether it be in our world, nation, community, work environment, family, church. Through our prayers, we will be centered in the holy will of God, and not just in our own feelings of anger or fear. Out of our prayers, may God move us to action.

Mindy Plick

Posted by Mindy Plick with

Freedom

I’ve been thinking …
 
The Drew family was making the short drive from their house to their neighborhood pool. Leigh Anna, the mom, was driving so slowly that the automatic door locks did not engage. Noah, her young son, opened the door and fell out. She felt a bump, as if she had driven over a speed bump, and braked to a quick stop.  Her husband, Ben, jumped out of the car and found Noah on the pavement. “He’s alive!”  Ben yelled and placed him on the seat. Noah’s legs were covered in blood, and he was shaking violently. Leigh Anna hurried over to the passenger’s seat and held Noah on her lap as Ben drove to the ER.
 
Incredibly, the tests showed no broken bones. A five-thousand-pound vehicle had run over his legs, yet little Noah had nothing but cuts and bruises to show for it.
 
Later that night Leigh Anna dropped to her knees and thanked God for sparing her son. She then stretched out on the bed next to him. He was asleep; at least she thought he was. As she was lying beside him in the dark, he said, “Mama, Jesus catched me.”
 
She said, “He did?”
 
Noah replied, “I told Jesus thank you, and he said you’re very welcome.”
 
The next day he gave some details. “Mama, Jesus has brown hands.  He catched me like this.” He held his arms outstretched, cupping his little hands. The next day he told her that Jesus had brown hair. When she asked him for more information, He said, “That’s all.” In a very nonchalant manner. But when he said his prayers that night, he said, “Thank you Jesus for catching me.”
 
DOES YOUR LIFE FEEL LIKE IT IS BEING RUN OVER BY A FIVE-THOUSAND-POUND MOVING VEHICLE?
 
Pressure to meet the deadline at work…
Financial pressures…
Children’s schedules…
A recent diagnosis…
Relationship tensions…
Geopolitics got you down…
Market volatility…
 
Stop by during lent to explore what freedom means in a time when it feels like we have been run over by a five-thousand-pound vehicle. God delights in freedom. God likes to forgive more than we like to mess things up. Through the life of Moses and the Exodus narrative, take a journey to freedom with us in a world that is constantly closing in on us…

Posted by Tobin Wilson with

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