“Making every effort to maintain the spirit of unity in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3b).
Blessed are the Peacemakers
Violence is something we live with on a daily basis. It can be felt as an unkind word, experienced as a physical injury or extreme hunger, or seen in spectacular actions of armed killers on the television screen. The threat of unexpected violence can mean we live in fear and insecurity, or the shock of violence in far flung places can stop us from understanding what life is like for people living in other places. Fear creates a barrier between peoples and can fuel further violence, prejudice and injustice.
For Christians, called to be peacemakers, violence creates an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity is to express our faith through actions to end such violence. The challenge is to overcome the fear and discern the best action to take. Jesus talked often of peace. He affirmed the importance of peacemaking in the Beatitudes (Matt 5:9). Biblical shalom is peace with justice. Jesus, named the Prince of Peace, is concerned with the full spectrum of peace from the inner self to justice for the planet.
Promoting just peace in an age where there is increased competition over shrinking resources and a greater than ever capacity for violence requires renewed global action. In the Pacific peace remains a priority issue, especially for those countries seeking self-determination and dealing with the continuing damage from nuclear testing. Churches were very much part of the action that led to the nuclear free legislation being passed into New Zealand law twenty-five years ago this year. There is more to be done.
This year Peace Sunday falls on August 5. We remember the terrible damage unleashed by the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima by a US B-29 bomber on August 6, 1945. Three days later another followed hitting Nagasaki on August 9. Images and tesimony of those who witnessed and survived remind us of the magnitude of the human potenial for destrucion present in such technology. The testing of nuclear weapons has also created long term damage. Decades after the first nuclear test on Moruroa Atoll on 2 July, 1966, the workers are sill seeking some compensaion for the many cancers and health problems caused by the 193 tests on Maohi land. Moruroa E Tatou coninues to campaign for fair compensation for the workers and their families through the courts. Cracks in the atoll pose continuing ecological hazards. Read more
News category: Features.