As a follow up to my post on Tuesday, I have been considering our place in the midst of a violent world that seems to continue in turmoil and increasing hostility between countries and cultures. I have been discussing this with a friend on my Facebook recently as well.
As people of faith, what is our role in creating peace? Especially between believers? Why do theological differences cause individuals to become not only angry but even violent? And how are Christians called to deal with such situations? Does the Bible offer us any answers for such questions? When I posed the question of “why” this happens, I was given this response from Fr Tony Palmer who serves in Bath, UK:
Insecurities are the basis of many violent reactions. We are scared of what we don’t understand, and when others don’t believe what we do, because of our insecurities, we act out of fear and switch into automatic defence – thus hurting others to preserve ourselves (or doctrines). Let mercy season our justice!
I responded that the struggle is to allow that mercy to intercede despite our fear and ignorance. Tony then shared with me how they are beginning to bridge the divide among Christians in Bath:
Me and Fr. Steve Hughes are here in Bath UK, involved in “Love Bath”, which is a Christian public demonstration and public worship for Christian unity. 16 Churches from various denominations have all cancelled their Sunday morning services, and we’re all worshipping PUBLICLY TOGETHER today on the streets of Bath. John 17:21 “may we be ONE so the World will believe God sent His Son”.
This is a good first step towards ending the strife and violence that occurs among Christians. How can we take this forward to serving the world? What is our role in attempting to create peace?
[quotes from Fr Tony used with permission]