Lately I’ve read a couple of books about the Christian Peacemaker Teams and about Archbishop Elias Chacour, a Melkhite Catholic priest who is a Palestinian Christian and an Israeli citizen. Chacour is working to bring peace by educating Jews, Muslims, Druze, and Christians together in one school. I’ve also been teaching through the book of Mark and been once again reminded of the power of nonviolent resistance.
As I talk over these issues with high schoolers (and think through them on my own), I realize it’s a lot easier to figure out what that looks like in some other community. We have the luxury of distance from the issues. It makes sense for Abuna Chacour to build schools and educate children, it makes sense for the CPT teams to stand in the way of soldiers with guns in the West Bank.
But the work of peacemaking is for all of us. It’s been a challenge to me to think through the ways I can work for peace in my own city. What does working for peace look like in Minneapolis? Where are the situations that need Christians to “get in the way” of violence (the CPT motto)? What am I doing at home?
It’s easier for me to think about going on a CPT delegation than it is for me to think about standing up for peace at home. I’m realizing, though, that for peacemaking to work it requires that we all be peacemakers where we are.
I have realized that I have kept a bit of a distance from Minneapolis for a lot of reasons. I wasn’t sure I was going to stay here, I was working too many hours to really explore, I don’t have a way to get around very easily, etc. But if I am serious about being a follower of Jesus, I need to get more involved in my city. I don’t know what that’s going to look like yet, but I do know that it needs to happen. And part of that work is also rooting out the violence that I know is in my own heart.
Where and how are you working for peace in your community? Where is there a need for you to get in the way?