How to be people of faith who trust in and live as peacemakers in a violent world is difficult at best. I pray daily for the strength and focus I need to continue doing this work. I’ve shared with you this week just a portion of the work that Christian mainline denominations are doing. It’s not just Christians who are concerned activists against violence. For more, click on this link.
From the Islamic Society of America:
The Quaran (5:23) says that the killing of one innocent person is tantamount to killing the whole human race. This is exactly what we experience when scenes of massacres in Newtown, Boston, Aurora, and other cities in America are shown on television. The deadening numbness that these horrific scenes have on all of us – individually and collectively – represents what this verse of the Quaran tells us.
From the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism
The Talmud teaches us that “he who takes one life it is as though he has destroyed the universe and he who saves one life it is as though he has saved the universe.” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5). The carelessness with which human life is taken by guns stands in direct violation of these affirmations of our tradition.
Buddhist Perspective from Thubten Chodron, Sravasti Abbey
In accordance with avoiding all wrong, the first precept the Buddha set forth is not to harm other physically, especially to take their lives. Harming others physically is neither an appropriate nor a satisfactory way of dealing with conflict or threat. Clearly guns are made to do this, so their proliferation makes it easier to transgress this precept when someone’s mind is overwhelmed by fear, anger, or misery (in the case of suicide). Harming others also harms ourselves, since we are all interrelated. Compassion can be a powerful force to resolve conflict and prevent violence. Compassion is not wimpy or sentimental. A mind with compassion is strong and can deal with difficult situations effectively because it isn’t clouded with fear and anger.
Thank you for taking time out of your day to read what has been on my heart and mind during Advent Peace Week. I close our time together with this prayer:
Open my eyes that I may see the needs of others;
Open my ears that I may hear their cries;
Open my heart so that they need not be without succor:
Let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong.
Nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.
Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
And use me to bring them to those places.
And so open my eyes and my ears
That I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for thee. Amen.
Alan Paton, Life Prayers: Affirmations to Celebrate