In a world overcome by violence, peace appears as a disruption that at first feels strange, counter-intuitive, even foolish. This is why true and lasting peace can only come with practice, countless rehearsals of non-violence. Day after day after day, we rehearse this way of deeper courage, longer endurance such that the very sign of today’s protest reflects the vision we have for a better tomorrow.
Fortunately, the sign of the future peace for which we long has already been shown to us by the peaceful One who has gone before and is in our midst even now. Christ, the Prince of Peace, invites us to rehearse the way of non-violence, to wrap ourselves in His very heart—for He Himself is The Way and He Himself is our Peace. In Christ, we see that the open hand (more than the clenched fist) disrupts the cycle of violence. Thus: as we work for peace, we take our place by His side, willing to lay down our life, willing to disrupt the cycle, fighting by refusing to fight on the world’s terms of violence—fighting the fight on heaven’s terms, beating swords into ploughshares.
To win this “fight” God does not raise up an “army,” per se. The people whom God raises up are not armed with the weapons of this world. Indeed, God’s people are empty-handed, open-armed. In this way, God raises up an alternative community which itself is to be a sign and foretaste of the lasting peace that God has in mind. It is the community of the Beloved. We enter the fight with open hands, hearts bared, laying it all on the line for the sake of love, even love for our enemy.
If we wish to disrupt the cycle of violence, let us rehearse love for our enemy. To rehearse such a strange love, we will need to wrap our lives in the One who has perfected the art of loving like that. As we do so, we will soon discover that we ourselves are the enemy He has loved. And we are joined by countless others who have been strengthened by the same love, even our own enemies. This is the community of the Beloved. This changes everything.
Fighting for Peace
reflections by troy cady
*Sculpture: “Love” by Alexander Milov; photographed by Andrew Miller.