Today’s Readings: Luke 1:46b-55; Micah 4:1-5; Ephesians 2:11-22
I was talking with a friend recently about a situation half-way around the globe where armed conflict was taking place. The conversation centered on the possibility that American troops would become involved.
My friend suggested that such involvement would be necessary if we wanted to bring peace to the region. The comment raised a larger issue for me: what exactly is peace? Is peace simply the absence of armed conflict; or could it be something more?
The more I thought about that question, the more I realized peace is so much more than the absence of military conflict. True peace has its roots in justice. That’s something that most folks don’t like to think about. It’s much easier, for instance, for the United States to intervene in situations and stop the fighting than it is for us to first evaluate the circumstance and then systematically work to address the systemic issues that are fueling the violence (i.e. the unequal distribution of wealth, etc.).
I think Micah understood the importance of justice as a precursor for peace.
And why do I think that?
Because when the author begins to talk about God’s vision for the world, he begins by addressing the issue of injustice (i.e. “God will establish justice in the rabble of nations and settle disputes in far away places” (Micah 4:3 from The Message). Only then does he move on to the discussion of peace: “They’ll trade in their swords for shovels, their spears for rakes and hoes” (Micah 4:3 from The Message).
So what’s your perception about the role of peace? Are you trying to experience a sense of peace without addressing the issues injustice or inequity in your life? If that’s the case, you might want to re-think your approach. Til next time…