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Pray for peace

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Greetings from Mennonite World Conference

We lament the horrendous and inhumane atrocities, reports of which fill our newspapers and dominate our television screens.

It is not difficult to imagine Jesus weeping today as he did in Luke 19:41–42. The world is not the way it was meant to be. At Jesus’ birth, the angels proclaimed “peace on earth” (Luke 2:14). Through Jesus, God calls the church to be God’s co-workers in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18–19).

The body of Christ weeps with Jesus today. We weep for Syria, and for other situations affecting our brothers and sisters: the poisoning of crops and water supply in the Choco, Colombia; the land stolen by multinational corporations in Panama; the historic and ongoing strife and war in DR Congo; the alienation and suffering in Egypt; and the millions of refugees displaced by human strife.

We weep because our world continues to hope for peace by preparing for war.

The weeping Jesus chose a different path. He trusted in God’s sovereignty over the nations, affirming with the prophet Isaiah: “The nations roar like the roaring of many waters, but he will rebuke them” (Isaiah 17:13 ESV).

Above all, Jesus chose suffering love – to the point of death on the cross – rather than terror, military revolution, or the protection of self-interest. God transforms this suffering love into gospel. Through the power of the resurrection, God converts the cross (a weapon of Roman state terror) into the power of God to save (1 Corinthians 1:18).

The gospel is God’s response to the sin of the world, and is given to a world not yet redeemed. The gospel is good news because of sin, not in spite of it. As followers of Jesus, the church too “seeks peace and pursues it” (Psalm 34:14). The apostle James reminds us about the inseparable bond between the pursuit of peace and the hope for justice:

“But the wisdom that comes from above leads us to be pure, friendly, gentle, sensible, kind, helpful, genuine, and sincere. When peacemakers plant seeds of peace, they will harvest justice (James 3:17–18 CEV).

We invite you to express this vocation of peace through justice by praying, worshipping, witnessing, and sharing. Our prayer is that:

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you (2 Corinthians 13:14).

—César García, MWC general secretary; Paulus Widjaja, MWC peace commission chair; Robert J. Suderman, peace commission secretary

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