Peacemakers and Peacebreakers

MultiLingualPeaceDove_Isabel Duncan_iona.org.uk

"Multilingual Peace"_Isabel Duncan_iona.uk.org

It takes some discipline as a writer to vomit strong emotion out on to a blank page, and then have the strength to leave it for a spell and return to it later with some seasoned perspective. But without a publisher, editor or someone to read my work immediately, I have space to chew on my words, edit, reframe my thoughts, shape my emotions. No writer has perfected this art (which is why it's an art, and never will be a science); but it is a powerful life discipline to engage in.

As a blogger… hmmm. The standard of writing, citing sources, and choosing words wisely and well is just as high but the temptation to publish immediately is also higher. Readers are waiting just a click away. I look over some of my early posts on The Underground Railroad and cringe.

Was that really me?

Yeah it was… maybe still is.

There are plenty of things I could have written better, not just for content but for style, craft, citing sources and even spelling. There are also things I could have left for the night to be seasoned. Writing while emoting is dangerous. As anyone knows, when we're in the throes of anger, fear, love or ecstasy the strangest, the most awkward and sometimes cruelest things fly out of our mouths. I admit it: I'm guilty.

I'm working on it.

I really wasn't sure how to handle my own anger last night when (what I felt to be) the overblown and cruel backlash from conservative Christian groups threw up on social media (The Gospel Coalition, John Piper), leaving World Vision's children unfunded and LGBTQ people once again believing the church thinks this community is too evil to show love, grace, kindness and care. People were using money — money designated for child sponsorship — as power tools to may World Vision pay. 

But I was quietly reminded by Spirit last night that even a few years ago, I was in this camp. I might very well have suspended my child sponsorship, believing it was a righteous thing to do so that I wouldn't slide down that ever-present slippery slope.

I had friends.

I had family.

I had co-workers.

These people knew of my conservative stance & struggle with sexual orientation but not once did someone yell at me, tell me I was condemned to hell, or shun me for believing differently. They explained their beliefs gently, in tones filled with grace, and offered perspectives (biblical and otherwise) that slowly saw scales drop from my eyes.

They made peace with me. I began to learn to make peace with them. I began to learn what peacemaking was really all about.

Believe me: I'm angry. How could Christians say such horrible things and do such dreadful things to punish an organization when ultimately the child sponsorship program is the thing hardest hit? But I am reminded that love covers a multitude of sins.

It covered me.

Right now I don't want it to cover my conservative friends, but that's my anger talking. It would mean denying the grace and love bestowed upon me time and again as I grew away from condemnation towards reconciliation. Am I "there" yet? No. No one is. 

In that spirit, I tried finding a Prayer of Peace for today that would lift heavy hearts and encourage everyone. I couldn't find just the right one, so I wrote one instead. May it boost you in some way today as we seek peace with each and every one, each and every community, and God.

_____________________________________________________

Prayer for the Peacemakers

God,
As a Mother Hen drawing her chicks in for the night,
You cluck Your love and make space for us all;
yet we are pecking each other to death for the closest spot by Your warm side.

Forgive us.

There is more than enough room for all of Your young with You — Eternal One, Faithful One, Holy One.

You have called us peacemakers, but I confess we sometimes are more peacebreakers, peaceshakers, peacetakers and peacehaters.

We don't know what to do with our anger…
… our hurt…
… our doctrines…
… our pride…
… our stubborness…
… our violence…

We don't know what do with our dislike of one another, not wanting to invite 'The Other' to Your great feast…
… people who sound like they have the dominant message on biblical marriage…
… people who sound like they dislike LGBTQ people (even if they claim they don't)…
… people who profess love for all people but spew venom towards conservatives, claiming they deserve it…
… people who have different sexual orientations…
… people who accept different sexual orientations…
… people who chuck Scipture around as self-evident, expecting every other person to just 'get it'…

… people like me.

Blessed are the peacemakers because You made peace first.

First in the grace of life in the Garden. Ultimately on the Cross. Finally… well, one day finally.

May we experience unrest and unease when there are conflicts between us…

May Your Spirit rest upon us soothing raw wounds and creating healthy space within ourselves and between each other that we might meet together with desire to love…

May the example of Jesus Christ light our way together as we pursue Love's tough journey…

May we be cautioned at signs of pride and self-righteousness…

May we be encouraged to lay down our political banners and doctrinal statements…

May we be free to embrace our brothers and sisters in unashamed, unfettered love…

May we be set loose, abandoned and free, to race around the world as skipping children seeing not others' sin and our anger, but Your joy of reconciliation…

May we be children of Peace, oh Prince…

May we be Yours… together.

Amen. 

 

 

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