by Christina Schoenwetter, First Congregational UCC, Madison, Wisconsin
– May 22, 2014 –
Imagine a culture of peace. No violence. Loving and treating others as brother and sister. In today’s society and in our world, I find imagining a culture of peace to be extremely challenging. Random, senseless shootings on highways and in neighborhoods and businesses; home invasions; human rights violations; violence directed toward those different from ourselves; domestic, sexual, and gender-based crimes; foreign wars; racial profiling investigations; police brutality; manipulating and pitting one another against each other–the list goes on. When do we hear about peace-building initiatives? Is a culture of peace obtainable?
This past March I attended Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice in Washington D.C. Nearly 1,000 people of different faiths from as far away as Alaska and Sri Lanka gathered to learn, reflect, develop advocacy skills, network, learn about other denominations, worship in different styles, and participate in liturgical art design. The focus was on resisting violence and building peace.
The opening keynote speaker, Rev. John Dear, was captivating and inspirational. He leads by example through his actions, sermons, writings, demonstrations, and speeches and has spent over three decades fighting for peace and justice. Listening to his experiences struck my core and ignited a fire in my soul.
This reflection was shared with us from the Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ May 22, 2014 Newsletter.