Monday, March 09, 2009

persistent peace

"To be reconciled to God is to be sent into the world as his reconciling community. This community, the church universal, is entrusted with God's message of reconciliation and shares his labor of healing the enmities which separate [people] from God and from each other. Christ has called the church to this mission and given it the gifts of the Holy Spirit...God's reconciliation in Jesus Christ is the ground of peace, justice, and freedom among nations which all powers of government are called to serve and defend. The church, in its own life, is called to practice the forgiveness of enemies and to commend to the nations as practical politics the search for cooperation and peace. This peace requires that the nations pursue fresh and responsible relations across every line of conflict, even at risk to national security, to reduce areas of strife and broaden international understanding." Confession of 1967

You may have heard Northern Ireland on the news recently. In Antrim (about 20 miles from Belfast), two British soldiers awaiting deployment to Afghanistan were killed by who claim to be the Real IRA, a dissident branch of the IRA who were responsible for the Omagh bombings and have consistently resisted the non-violent peace process. You can read about the shootings here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7931774.stm

First, I want to assure all of my American friends and family that I am, of course, safe. I am, as most everyone here is, deeply saddened and angered by such a blatant disregard for life and disregard for the monumental non-violent progress towards peace Northern Ireland has embraced. This event has made people here grip ever more tightly to the sometimes fragile bond of unity and peace and redouble their commitment to progress ushered in not by guns, cowardly ambushes and fear but by understanding, shared pain and healing and love. I pray for this place, for the families of those killed and for all who come to see violence as their only option, that God would bring secure peace, justice and comfort and "fresh and responsible relations" across this particular line of conflict.

2 comments:

Just thinkin' said...

I thought of you immediately when I read the news of this. Confident that you were physically safe, I was still concerned about how this affects you, your friends, members of your congregation, the children and youth that write about. Prayers, prayers, prayers!

Meghan said...

I listen to the BBC World Service every morning as I drive into work and I've thought of you each of the last couple of days.

They had a great interview this morning with a teacher and a student at a mixed school in Belfast.

The interview was about how different generations are reacting to the new violence. The teacher had lived through The Troubles, and the student has grown up since then.

What really made me think of you was the teacher emphatically explaining to the interviewer in London that the thing she needed to understand about Belfast was what an incredibly friendly and welcoming city it is.