Most of us have learned about this in school, some witnessed it on the newsreels, newspapers and radio firsthand. All of us have witnessed the world that has existed since.
This world, unlike the one that existed before this disaster, has been in a constant state of escalation. One act of terror breeds another. One insurgency brings a counter-insurgency. One battle continues a war that seems to have no end.
Vietnam. Korea. Serbia & Croatia. The Congo. Sudan. Iraq. Afghanistan. Northern Ireland. The list of “conflicts” seems endless. Warfare as we knew it prior to the first N-bomb no longer exists. Battles are not decisive. Withdrawals are agonisingly slow.
Then there’s “the war on terror” which not only ticks all the boxes above, but it has from the first day led an insidious campaign in the unconscious realm, brining fear and anxiety.
OK. So a lot of this is media-driven and subject to a variety of interpretations. But in the end, what we see in our world today is an erosion of peace–and not just peace as in the absence of war, but a deep-seated, grounded being in a state of calm and trust that everything will be alright. This is the peace Jesus spoke of when he said, “Peace I leave with you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.” Even in the first century, there was an unrest, a fear–especially in the community of Jesus-followers who were victimised, persecuted and marginalised.
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One of the foundations of any peaceful society is a sense of equality. As the American Constitution’s Preamble states, “All men are created equal.” (May I interpret that to mean “all human beings”?) And if we are created equal, then we are also “endowed” with rights (obligations?) that continue to create equality amongst us, siblings in the great human family.
That is why I have never supported the U.S. state of California’s Proposition 8. And that is why I am glad to witness the overturn of this invalid proposition in the courts yesterday.
According to the ruling, evidence in favour of this anti-gay marriage bill is not admissible in a court due to the fact it is largely (and simply) opinion, not fact. (The Atlantic has a brief summary of this ruling which you can read here.)
I know that those who have their being grounded in power and greed always seek to limit the power and success of marginalised people. Somehow they believe this makes them stronger, better, and proves their worldview is right.
But, as in warfare, you would be as wise in thinking this as you would be to drink rat poison then waiting for the rat to die. All this kind of thinking breeds is division, fear, and destruction.
Rather, being encouraged by the words of St Paul, we live in peace “as much as it depends on us.” That is, as much as we can do to live peacefully in our community (read “our world”), we should be doing. It may not be a great act on a global or even national scale, but every little act of kindness, every hand reached out in acceptance, every smile given in love, every act of generosity (including being generous of spirit to those with whom we may disagree) breaks down the walls of hostility and brings joy, freedom, and peace.
So on this momentous day, I wish you (in the words of Columba) “Deep peace.” May the peace that is from God drive out every fear, every sense of inferiority, every sense of “not good enough-ness.” May you rest in the deep peace of God. And may that peace bring a great and lasting sense of peacefulness in your life and in your world.
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P.S. Here’s a much more needed take on Proposition 8 on a post by Kentucky Fried Methodist: Proposition 8–Where Have All the Christians Gone?