The scene is becoming far too familiar. The sights, sounds and smells of war.
And though the latest incident was in France, there have been others – too many others – in Baghdad, in South Sudan; in cities, in the countryside.
How many times can we say, “Our prayers go out,” before we make change within? How long, oh Lord, will we feed our anger and distrust?
It is time for the people of God to unite in the face of hate. In the words of the United Protestant Church of France, our partner in mission, it is time for us to join with all people of peace in refusing to succumb to the “panic, widespread suspicion, the feeling of powerlessness and division” that inevitably follows hateful acts.
“Lord, make us instruments of your peace” – for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of our children. Make us mindful of our words and actions that they may bring harmony rather than discord in our own neighborhoods, cities, states, nations and world. May we BE the hope the world so sorely needs.
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) issues a call. “May the love of God penetrate our hearts and shine through us. Through peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts, we in the churches must persevere in cultivating an atmosphere of trust and acceptance together with all people of faith and goodwill. CEC encourages all to continue and strengthen efforts to build societies where all people feel safe and welcome.” Full statement
From Georges Lemopolous, of the World Council of Churches, we hear, “People of good will must respond, and we in the WCC pledge to take positive, direct action as part of a common response to this brutal attack,” said Lemopoulos. “This is a time for prayer, but also for action by faith organizations in partnership with state and secular agencies.” Full statement
As Disciples, we particularly hold up those members of the World Council of Churches based in France – our partners in mission – as they move forward to help heal their nation.
The tragedy in Nice, as with so many others, reminds us peace-making begins with each one of us. And it is not easy work, but it is essential to living into the Reign of God. May we follow in the footsteps of Jesus to seek the ways of justice and peace.
Resources for beginning the work of peacemaking: