Taking responsibility for peace in our neck of the woods
by Connie Faber
As I write this, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has released a video showing the brutal beheading of American journalist James W. Foley, Israel and Palestine are firing rockets and mortar rounds at one another, Russia and the Ukraine continue to wage an undeclared war and Libya could be headed toward a prolonged civil war. Here in the United States, violence has erupted in Ferguson, Mo., following the shooting death of a young black man.
By the time you read this, new conflicts may have erupted around the globe and here at home. The struggles that were breaking news in August may have dropped off the radar, but that doesn’t mean the conflicts have been resolved. Life continues to be violent in too many places in our world.
Many of these violent situations are beyond our borders and out of our control. Yet the recently approved revision to Article 13 of our USMB Confession of Faith reminds us that there are conflicts that we can influence: “We actively pursue peace and reconciliation in all relationships by following Christ’s example and his command to love God, neighbors and even enemies. We strive to be peacemakers and agents of reconciliation in families, churches, communities, in our work and throughout the world.”
You and I probably don’t have to think back very far to remember the last time we had a conflict with someone in our families, at work or even at church. Our stated commitment as U.S. Mennonite Brethren is that we will actively chase after peace and reconciliation when we disagree with someone. We can’t do much about conflicts in the Middle East or Ukraine or even Ferguson. But we can readily take responsibility for being peacemakers in every relationship we have. If we as Mennonite Brethren were to do that, we would truly be a shining city on a hill.