Called to obedience, not success

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Living as a peacemaker is not easy

by Connie Faber

This issue of the Christian Leader includes an insert provided by the USMB Board of Faith and Life (BFL). This study guide, “God’s Community of Peace,” highlights peacemaking in our homes, churches, communities, nation and the world. It is one of several new resources developed by BFL as part of implementing Article 13: Love, Peacemaking and Reconciliation. Other resources include an online discussion forum (www.usmb13.com) managed by Trent Voth, a recent Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary graduate, and “Living as People of Peace,” the latest addition to the BFL Pamphlet Series; pamphlets are free, and copies are available from the USMB Midwest Office.

We long for peace in our nation and the world. And yet we sometimes forget that big-picture peace begins with you and me. We also sometimes forget that active peacemaking sometimes generates hostility and thus requires courage. A recent example of a local community working for peace and encountering resistance is Garden City, Kan.     

In mid-October, Garden City made national news when three men were arrested for threatening to blow up an apartment complex that is home to approximately 120 of the 500 Somali-born residents of this western Kansas city of about 25,000. The goal of the attack, planned for the day after the presidential election, was to draw attention to a perceived Islamic threat and to inspire other militia groups to commit similar acts.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the men also discussed targeting the community churches that help settle immigrants. Garden Valley MB Church is one of those congregations. In an October 17 interview, Pastor Steve Ensz told USA TODAY that his congregation will continue to collect household supplies for distribution to immigrants settling in their community.

“This is a tense time in our community,” Ensz said, “but we want to move forward with building friendships and being the neighbors God has called on us to be.”

Ensz described Garden City as a receptive community that is friendly and welcoming to the immigrants that live there and work at local meat packing plants. He and other community members that talked with USA TODAY repeatedly spoke of their support for the Somali-born residents.

Working toward peace and understanding in our communities is not easy. The people in Garden City that work with immigrants and refugees acknowledge that there are members of their community who fear Muslims and sometimes mistakenly associate them with militant groups in their home countries.

In spite of the challenges, our call as followers of Jesus is to be peacemakers. May God grant us the wisdom and courage necessary to do so. As the BFL study guide says, “We seek peace because Jesus calls us to be peacemakers that are obedient, not necessarily successful. We obey Christ’s command to love … and leave the results to him.”

 

           

 

CL Archives
This article is part of the CL Archives. Articles published between August 2017 and July 2008 were posted on a previous website and are archived here for your convenience. We have also posted occasional articles published prior to 2008 as part of the archive. To report a problem with the archived article, please contact the CL editor at editor@usmb.org.

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