Provocative nonviolence

19 Sep 2017


This coming Sunday is ‘Peacemaking Sunday’, and we will be marking this at Bloomsbury. So it is fitting that our journey through the beatitudes brings us to the blessing on the peacemakers, as we are reminded that the struggle for justice and righteousness is part of our own calling in life.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are provocatively nonviolent,
for they are following the path of the son of God.

The path of peacemaking is not supposed to be straightforward. It’s never just a passive pacifism that lies down and dies when confronted with violent opposition. Christ-like nonviolence is something far more creative, something far more subversive. Jim Gordon, former principal of the Scottish Baptist College, wrote that the ‘Followers of the crucified Lord have a long tradition of resistance through revolutionary love, bridge-building hope, perseverance in peace, and joy in trumping injustice.’And those of us who are watching with concern as sabre rattling escalates on the international stage, will need to be provocatively nonviolent if we are to speak out a different, more Christ-like narrative, for people to learn to live by.

A Prayer
God of peace, may we know the truth of your peace in our lives, that we may live the reality of your peace into being in our world. Help us to choose the path of peace in the small things as well as the big things, and may those who work for peace internationally be granted wisdom and audacity. We pray especially for the escalating tensions around North Korea, and also for the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. In these, as in so many other areas of conflict too numerous to mention, may peace prevail. Amen.

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