Thursday, January 14, 2010

A reflection on peace and the Gospel.

Does focusing on peace undermine preaching about the work of God through Jesus? Does preaching Jesus without discussing peace truly articulate the full meaning of the Gospel? For members of a Historic Peace Church and ones employed as "Teachers and Workers of Peace and Reconciliation," these are important questions that we have had to consider in our spiritual life and our vocation. These are also issues that we have heard brothers and sisters struggle with in a variety of churches and theological backgrounds in the United States.

Jesus came to bring peace between humanity and God. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are reconciled to our Creator. This established peace also enables us--by the Holy Spirit--to establish peace within humanity. Enmity in the human family has existed since the first few chapters of the Bible, but the many following pages illustrate that Yahweh’s final goal is that of shalom (peace), of harmony and reconciliation.

Through Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither male nor female, but one body. Wealth disparities, racial and gender inequalities--these are all to be made void and null within the body of Christ.

The Kingdom of God is one of righteousness, justice, and wellbeing for all humanity. We believe that Jesus has called us to demonstrate what his Kingdom looks like ("Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven") by working for justice for all people, by working for peace and reconciliation between warring communities and ethnic groups.

Working for peace is essentially living out one’s love for God and neighbor. Working for peace is seeing that violent conflict has underlying roots of injustice and hatred. It is attempting to address root problems. Working for peace is understanding that traumatic events wound communities. It is attempting to bring healing and forgiveness, a slow and arduous process that requires much grace.

Peace--articulated through the biblical definitions of wholeness, wellbeing, righteousness, and justice--is not contrary to the Gospel. Rather, it is the fruit of receiving reconciliation with God.

-- Nathan and Jennifer Hosler are Church of the Brethren mission workers serving with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).

Source: 1/14/2010 Newsline

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