Today is World Peace Day.
In some ways that sounds naïve, foolish and silly. After all, we have politicians and attention-seekers here in this country (as well as others throughout the world) who profit from keeping people stirred up against one another, fostering contempt for the ‘other’, self-righteously proclaiming a superiority due to skin pigmentation or socio-economic advantages, stirring up trouble and division wherever they can in hopes of getting more camera time, twitter followers, facebook friends and YouTube hits…and enrich their own bank accounts.
But what would happen if we refuse to take the bait and instead work for justice and peace, reconciliation and protecting the vulnerable, locally and state-wide? What would happen if we befriend that ‘other’ person who is not like us, even the one who is angry and resentful or full of cynicism?
What would happen if those of us who identify as Christians would go where the founder of our faith went, to the despised and diseased, to the unclean and the ’sinners’? What if we saw them as children of God created in God’s image and worth redeeming?
What if we spent the same amount of money that it takes us to keep our mega-churches running and pour that into local and international efforts to assist individuals and families that have lost hope? What if we invested our resources into helping people move from hopelessness to hope? What if we stopped arguing about the best way to achieve these goals and simply DO?
What if we stopped arguing about who is right and instead focus on who is needy? What if we also not focus only on the apparent need but also the underlying causes and address those too?
What if we stopped asking if someone is worthy of our food pantry or taking advantage of us and instead realize that WE ALL have taken advantage of the love of God and WE don’t determine where grace begins or ends?
What if we stopped trying to promote our own brand and simply find the nearest needy person and love them the best we can with the resources we have, doing it in Jesus’ name?
Today is World Peace Day and the beginning of a new year. Though some of us have financial or health challenges and can’t “do much”, we can all give a little more thought to what we think and say, to how we spend our time or money, or if nothing else – stop enabling people whose primary purpose is to stoke more fear and division among us. Whether it’s TV, radio, social media, the sports bar down the street, the café around the corner or the family pancake house in town, we can look at people with fresh eyes of compassion, listen to their brokenness, and share God’s love with them by being present.
Love God by loving others, looking for Jesus in the eyes of the displaced, poor and vulnerable AND the loud angry neighbor across the street.
Peace doesn’t start with someone else. It begins with us. Today. Now.
God’s love is here, waiting for us to stop damming it up. Streams of living water are waiting to refresh others as well as ourselves.
Let’s lift the dam, remove the obstacles, and allow the mighty rivers of God’s love to flow.