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Scattered SeedScripture References: Matthew 6:9-13, Jeremiah 1:4-10, Isaiah 55:10-13
The Lord's Prayer. We all have prayed these words many times; probably so many times that it is easy to say it without really focusing on what we are saying. When we think about it what are we asking for when we ask that God's Kingdom come to earth and God's will be done on earth as it is in Heaven? How might our world be different today? How might you be different? I would guess that we would each have a different picture of what the world would be like under God's reign. In my version there would be an equitable sharing of world resources, care for God's creation and tolerance for differences. But I don't think we would be without conflicts. I do think we would solve those conflicts differently than we do today.
As our nation is embroiled in an ongoing "war on terrorism" with troops in Afghanistan and the Philippines, advisors in Colombia, and threatening to overthrow the government of Iraq, our national leaders seem to think the only way to deal with violence or imagined potential violence is by returning that violence one hundredfold. Our nation refuses to look at our part in the root causes of these conflicts.
Alternative voices need to be heard, voices of peace, voices of reconciliation and voices of justice need to rise above babble of warmongering. I believe as Christians we are called to be a prophetic people; that we are called as the prophet Jeremiah was called. As with Jeremiah, we don't always know what to say or how to speak out, but God is faithful and God is with us, giving us the words to speak and the actions to take. I have a button in my office that says, "Speak your mind even if your voice shakes." God does not give us the option of being too shy or too young or too comfortable or too whatever to avoid speaking out for peace, for justice, and for healing. The places we may be called to speak out will differ. It may be to co-workers or to our legislators or to a Sunday school class or to a large group of people. Wherever it is, God is with us.
The Mennonite tradition of peacemaking is a voice that needs to be heard today. I hope that you will heed or will continue to heed your personal call to peacemaking and to be prophetic in these times of war and violence. I hope that IPN will be a source of support and guidance for you in your peacemaking.
In calling for peace many times we are going against the prevalent culture and longstanding institutions. It can seem like we are always saying no. Saying only no to the culture and institutions of violence can be very draining. At the same time of saying no we must be planting the seeds of hope and building a new society from within the shell of the old. God is our source of strength as we live on hope's edge, which can be a precarious place. But God is always with us, encouraging us. And in Isaiah 55 we are called to be joyful in our peacemaking and to celebrate with God's creation. As we seriously work to bring God's reign of peace to earth, let's be joyful in our journey.
Patti McKee, Iowa Peace Network, 4211 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312,