Thoughts from the Pastor

A Witness of Peace

     The Church of the Brethren as a historic and living peace church has long been a witness to Christendom and to the world of the importance of finding another way to live and be in this world. As we move into the month of September, we as a congregation will spend a Sunday considering our call to be peacemakers. We do so in solidarity with our global community who will likewise be called to pursue peacebuilding on international peace day, celebrated on September 21st each year.

     As I consider the peace witness of our denomination I am inspired by the words of the 1935 Annual Conference who even after experiencing the horrors of World War I; even after seeing a world gearing up for another global conflict, had the boldness to proclaim…

     We believe that war is not inevitable. Those beliefs are not based upon a peculiar peace doctrine of our own; they arise from our application of Christian standards to all human relations, whether individual, group, class, or national. To settle conflicts in any of these relationships by war is not efficient, not constructive, not permanent, and certainly not Christian. We believe that nonviolence, motivated by goodwill, is more powerful than the sword, making possible the survival of both parties, while warfare insures the ultimate destruction of both. 

     As we continue to witness extreme violence and evil in our world it can be difficult to discern how peacebuilding could possibly make a difference. However, in a world that is so quick to use tools of violence the world needs a voice like the Church of the Brethren asking others to consider a third way, a way of nonviolence that seeks to build up instead of destroy. As the proverb goes “if all you have is a hammer everything around you begins to look like nails.” May we take time this month to consider how Christ calls us to be witnesses of peace.

     But may we also recognize that peace is much deeper than an absence of violence. Peacebuilding also considers the language we use, how we treat those we disagree with, and even how we view and treat ourselves. May we embrace all that peacemaking entails in order to help build up the coming kingdom in which all are loved and valued as children of God. Lord, make us an instrument of your peace, Amen.    ~ Pastor Nathan