Bullying and discord are two recognisable features of our world. With social media and political discourse emphasising disagreement and the championing of the self over everything else, many ordinary people are feeling bullied and distressed. The second wave of the pandemic, much predicted, adds fear and isolation into this heady mix. For followers of Jesus, this world of disagreement is not a foundation on which to build. For us, Jesus was Prince of Peace and a reconciling figure, bringing people together – yes, he often got mad, especially when he saw a misuse of power or the self-righteousness of some leaders – but his ministry was to those who got a bad deal in life, the ones crushed by the powerful and made to feel like losers; in place of this, Jesus offered life in all its fullness.
Jesus shows us God’s vision for the world; and the church, in our local setting, seeks to live out that vision. The church desires to build community bringing all different kinds of people together, listening out for the voices ‘crying in the wilderness’; it offers a way of life which seeks out meaning and direction. It’s not always clear but in all it does that vision is before the church leading it on and encouraging members to be agents of peace in all relationships.
This is not easy. We are human after all, and we often makemistakes, are argumentative and let our needs come first, over those of others. The challenge is to work hard at building up communities and to foster a spirit of cooperation and relationship. Jesus said, ““Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” The church’s aim is to live up to that vision and ‘turn weapons into welcome signs and the lust for power into a desire for peace’ (Wild Goose, Wee Worship Book 1989). If you find this a message of hope, why not take up the challenge and learn more about Jesus and his vision for the world?