On 22 September our community gathered in the Peace Garden on Epiphany Island to prayer for peace along with Christians around the world. The readings used were Psalm 34; Micah 4:1-4; Luke 37-46. Here is my reflection:
Yesterday was the International Day of Peace (21 September) which was started by the United Nations. It is traditional for the closest Sunday to that day to be designated as Peacemaking Sunday which churches around the world remember.
Mother Theresa highlighted the emphasis on peace ‘making’ rather than just peace. She said: “Peace is not something you wish for, it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, something you give away.”
Jesus also said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Those who set out to make peace have a particular family resemblance to their heavenly Father.
Likewise Psalm 34 asks us to ‘seek peace and pursue it’.
Why the emphasis on peacemaking? Why have a special day? As the resources on the Act for Peace website makes clear (http://actforpeace.org.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/Peace%20Day/International-Day-of-Peace-5-factsheet.pdf) conflict is a major factor in reducing the quality of life for millions the world over. The statistics are sobering. Around one quarter of the world’s population lives in a country where there is conflict. Looking at 30 conflict-affected countries it’s estimated that by next year these countries will account for: half of all child deaths across the world, a third of children who do not complete primary school, a third of deaths from HIV/AIDS, a third of people who lack access to clean water. That is a huge impact. Continue reading