Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.
So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Reflection: The fear that drives our military policy also erodes our relationships with one another. This erosion becomes normalized as structural violence. It is evident in practices of suspicion toward the “other” (people from other countries, other racial/ethnic groups, other religions), in practices of wealth accumulation that create and perpetuate economic inequality, and in practices of preemption that cause people and nations to react with force as a first resort.
The challenge of our culture is that there seems increasingly to be a deficit of empathy, a surplus of fear, and a willingness to sacrifice the future for the present. Some of the factors listed at the beginning of this reflection section may contribute to that lack of empathy and the related lack of community and feelings of powerlessness. As followers of Jesus, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, to treat others with respect and dignity, and to ensure that their basic human needs are met.
Question for discernment: How do cultural practices such as violence in entertainment media impact us? Do you think they lead to greater violence or to more passivity? Why? Are we in some sense bullied and disempowered by the world of fantasy?
Prayer: Loving God, help us to create a culture of peace. Lead us from falsehood to truth, from apathy to empathy, from fear to trust. Help us to build the beloved community.