“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God” (Matthew 5:9)
Siblings in Christ,
Some days the pain is so overwhelming that words are hard to come by. These are the times we are called to our knees. I write to invite you to pray that we might be fed by God’s solidarity with humanity and consider our Christian duty to be peacemakers.
The core of Jesus’ teaching is nonviolence, but that is not a passive route. Peacemaking seeks to actively bless our interdependence with unconditional regard for the neighbor. Jesus promises those who act as peacemakers will offer a witness that is so remarkable that peacemakers will be called children of God.
We have declared many times that we cannot condone white supremacy. The hate crime in Buffalo targeting our African American siblings, the hate crime in Laguna targeting Taiwanese people, the hate crime in Dallas against Koreans, and the gun violence in Milwaukee over the weekend, call us to our knees that we may ask God—what can we do to live as peacemakers? Why, in this country, is there a mass shooting of four or more every day? Let us be in prayer and more: call an end to the voices of white supremacy and systems that create violence. Children of God must pursue peace-making in this society.
Siblings in Christ, peace is not achieved by coercion, intimidation, or making persons an object of hatred. Peace is a gift of God that brings a measure of God’s presence, a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Christians must love God enough to call for change in systems that embed racism. Christians must trust God more than assault rifles of the kind used in Buffalo. Christians must love God more than current solutions that are not working—can we love God enough to listen for the prophetic imagination that would allow the lion to lie down with the lamb?
There is no time to wait to advance the interdependent good of God’s realm. Repressed demands for justice will not give birth to peacemaking. We need political change but more: to be fed by God’s peace that you might make the prince of peace the cornerstone of your life, your church, and the unifying witness of compassion to your community.
We learn from the grief of racism hard truths about the body of Christ. Those who are vulnerable teach us that we have not heard their cries. We learn from this grief that proclamation of a nonviolent Christ cannot be muted. We learn through pain to grow in love. We learn again that personal holiness must involve social holiness.
This is not just a political issue, let's live an interdependent good where people make neighbors, change systems, and create a new axis of creativity centered on goodness. Know that I am praying for you.
Hee-Soo Jung, PhD.
Bishop Wisconsin Conference UMC