Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lament, Active Hope and Peace

This past week or so has been a harrowing one in my country, South Africa. A child kidnapped close to my neighbourhood and community search parties leading to nothing; the one-year anniversary of the death of a young lady who went to a post office only to be raped and murdered by a post office worker; the fatal shooting of a young disabled man who did not answer the police when asked a question! I can see from the international news that it has been similar around the world. Police brutality. Violence against women and children. Racism and prejudice. The issue of land and injustice. People trying to make a home in unwelcoming spaces. Human trafficking and modern-day slavery. The wrecking of the beautiful planet we call home. Relentless animal cruelty in the form of factory farming. The list could go on and on.

The world is a broken place.The opposite of ‘shalom’ in every way. We may ask ourselves, How long, Oh Lord?
I was on a call this week with one of our Micah Board members who is based in Lebanon and heard the hardship that the people of Beirut are facing. Daily we receive messages from Micah members around the world that tell of suffering and injustice and hardship. When one member of our body suffers, we need to lament together.
Decades ago I prayed a prayer that I have sometimes regretted – I prayed, “God, break my heart with the things that break your heart.” I had lived out much of my young Christian faith before that in a kind of protected and disconnected bubble, singing about Jesus and telling everyone of God’s goodness, while my country was burning in the last throes of apartheid, one of the most evil systems in the last century, endorsed by parts of the church in South Africa. But God cracked my heart open, and gave me eyes to ‘see’, and it changed my life then, and continues to do so. Since then it has cracked open again and again. I have learned to lament for this broken world. I have learned to love the world in a deeper and more connected way.
I listened to an excellent podcast this week where listeners were reminded that when you truly love, you move towards, not away from. If your child has leukemia you move towards them, not away. When the world you love is in desperate need of healing, we move towards the ‘dis-ease’, not away. God gives us a love for this world …and our compassion is our superpower not a weakness. It takes courage to ‘see’ and lament. But what happens if we stop at lament? It can be overwhelming and paralyzing, so we have to nurture hope and guard our minds as we live out our faith.  
But what does hope look like in a very broken world? This past week I have been thinking again about how hope is different to optimism. Optimism says everything will be okay with a false sense of positivity. Hope is active. It is involved. It is close to pain and suffering. I love how Rebecca Solnit phrases it in her book, Hope in the Dark:
 “Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal… To hope is to give yourself to the future – and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.” 
Active hope is more than optimism or positive thinking. It is what compels us to move and act for change. And God’s presence with us brings us peace in the midst of the storms. The world is a beautiful and broken place. God is restoring and bringing the kingdom down to earth. God is redeeming. We are being reconciled to God, to creation, to our neighbours. Yes, we lament and that moves us to act with hope for change, and God brings peace that is beyond our understanding as we do that.
As a part of the Micah secretariat team, I focus on communications, resources, content and storytelling, and as a journalist and editor by vocation, I take a particular interest in storytelling and news (I am a news junkie!). I have seen that the media mostly offers us two options – Hard News, which tells us how awful, hopeless and broken the world is, or Public Relations, which tells us of a perfect world that we know deep down is not true. The church sometimes mirrors this.   
I believe we can live out, follow and offer a ‘third way’, which acknowledges the brokenness of the world, and yet lives out and points to the lives, words and actions of people who are serving, loving, bringing change and showing a different way. This is active hope. We value the clip that Tearfund has released (see below) where we are reminded that we are invited to join God in this beautiful and powerful restoration journey.
We lament. We live out active hope. We work for change. We rest in God’s peace.
The whole of Psalm 94 has brought me great comfort this last week, but these verses are particularly encouraging.
16 Who will rise up for me against the wicked?
    Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?
17 Unless the Lord had given me help,
    I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
18 When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
    your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
19 When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy. 
Linda Martindale
Micah Global

God’s Footprint in the Mess

By Christine MacMillan, World Evangelical Alliance

John 4:9 “The woman was surprised for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a Woman of Samaria?”

As I Chair the World Evangelical Task Force on Human Trafficking, I find myself asking the question: what is human about trafficking?  And then it resonates – for trafficking is very much human. It conscripts humans regardless of race, lifestyle, age and gender.  It is full of surprises when its victims and those becoming aware of its horror unravel personal stories when given the opportunity.  Jesus was not afraid to find his footsteps on messy ground. He risks his reputation by engaging with a woman from Samaria perceived known for her questionable relationship history.  He was interested in her story only silenced by living on the margins.

The nature of relationships covers a vast realm of considerations. You are reaching out in one moment and then becoming aware of your vulnerability in the next. Is Jesus at risk? Is the woman at risk? Human trafficking goes beyond statistics of victims. It goes beyond a headline that reads: “Children sold like cabbages”. As cabbages once devoured are finished. Victims of human trafficking viewed as profitable commodities can be devoured again and again and their story is never ending.

Captivity is rarely under question by users.  And yet, a surprise question from Jesus: “Can you give me a drink”?  Interest from Jesus starts from a point of what another can give.   

The scene of Jesus and the woman is inching closer with respect.  Not the usual judgment call or pointed finger.  It causes a woman from Samaria to ask why someone different from her would ask her for a drink.

Integral mission is not limited to one sided giving.  It has the integrity to see value from both sides. When the question in Micah is posed: “What does the Lord require of you?”, can we be asking that of ourselves and the “other” at the same time.  Our giving is reciprocated when we leave ourselves open to receive from unexpected sources. 

The nature of organizational relationships can often be tempted to be on the lookout for its own unlimited resources. If resources are limited, we sense our mission is under threat. We become concerned about our own survival and do everything under our control to attract resources to our particular ministry only. We brand our cups of water as success stories of our own accomplishments.

Coming back to the question what is human about trafficking poses a deep search. Trafficking victims are relegated to a one -sided giving of themselves that holds little surprises in their endless activities of being used. The water they drink is polluted. They are trafficked in streams of dead water.

Resources found in the practice of integral mission are purified gifts that respect with integrity our need to both give and receive.  In the midst of pollution Jesus loves to tread in the mess of contamination. He stops to hear our story with the intention there is more for us to give.  We who are in the Micah movement are learning to adopt listening patterns of mutuality on what the Lord requires. It is then there is enough water to go around.                                                                                                 

Going Upstream

Written for Micah Global’s Prayer Ignite …

Brazilian Catholic Archbishop, Hélder Pessoa Câmara, is noted for saying, “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.

I have found this to be true. We can be seen as generous, kind and charitable when providing relief assistance in crisis work. But, if we speak about justice and how systems may oppress and keep people poor, it can be met with anger, defensiveness and sometimes even vitriol. I have heard people say, “Don’t bring politics into this.” Or, “Let us stick to the biblical issues.” The truth is … these are biblical issues – from start to finish of the Bible.

Followers of Jesus are called throughout scripture to love and serve those suffering with mercy and kindness. This is unquestionable. But too often the church stops there. We are also called to break down structures and systems that oppress – which is harder work and much less popular. It reminds me of the well-used story told in development circles of the village who kept rescuing babies out the river and finally someone asked, “Why don’t we go up the river and ask why they keep falling into the water in the first place?”

Isaiah 58 shows me that we are called to both – to the rescue and relief, which will always be there because we live in a fallen world, and the transformation of cultures, systems and structures that cause suffering, disenfranchisement and oppression ‘upstream’. Isaiah speaks to us of loosing the chains of injustice, untying the cords of the yoke to set the oppressed free, sharing food with the hungry, sheltering the wanderer, clothing for the naked, and to not to turn away from our fellow humans. This speaks to me of the wholeness of true transformation for which we work and pray. Providing relief for suffering people and working to change the systems ‘upstream’ that keep people vulnerable.

The hard work of bringing systemic change that literally unties the yoke of oppression takes time, commitment and courage; it may not feel as good or be as quickly obvious as the speed with which charitable relief take place, and yet it is our mandate as the Church to lead by example and show a different way.

True shalom, the peace for which we pray and work and trust, requires humility, lament and commitment to justice. Let us pray during this month that God will show us more of his heart for just systems and institutions, and that we will listen and hear the cries of those being oppressed and persecuted and exploited. Let us read the bible with people who we do not normally read it with to expand our view of scripture and God’s heart. Let us stand on the side of the marginalised and oppressed, whether we are those impacted by an injustice or not. Let us continue to swim upstream against the current of popular culture and the accepted systems so that we can show another way. Let us commit to do the hard work of going further up the river to see what systems need to be renewed, replaced and redeemed. Let us pray that God gives us new imagination and dreams for more of God’s kingdom come on earth.

Let us pray …

Linda Martindale
Micah Global

Caring for creation

The earth is so beautiful! For a time in my life, I used BBC’s Planet Earth as part of my quiet time with God – I was so blown away by the magnificence of creation, from the underground crystal caves that are indescribably beautiful in Mexico, to the massive expanse of red sand dunes of Namibia.

Earlier on in my Christian faith journey I left my natural inclination towards caring for creation and conservation of nature at the proverbial door, as it felt like evangelism and a focus on human suffering was of greater importance. Over the years I have learned more about a biblical understanding of integral mission and see that you don’t have to make a choice between the two. It is not a toss-up between ‘care about people’ and ‘care about the earth’. I have learned that they impact on one another in significant ways and caring for one is good for the other, and vice versa.

We have been given the mandate to care for this planet we call home. Throughout the Bible we are reminded that this is God’s creation and it is good! Psalms 24:1 tells us that “The earth is God’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” Some see the stewardship call from God in Genesis as an excuse to abuse the earth, but caring for this planet we have been given to live on and seeing the worth of all of creation, is good for us all and brings God glory. Revelation 11:18 reminds us that those who destroy the earth, will not go unpunished. And there is a lot more Biblical evidence that points to the truth that the planet is ours to steward well, not to abuse and plunder.

It is also a fact that it is the most vulnerable who feel the greatest impact of climate change. Martin Kapenda, from Micah Zambia, said in this clip recently, “Let us unite together to fight the forces of climate change and put up solutions that will work well for the people living in poverty, especially those mostly affected by climate change. It affects the poor most, and the poor are the ones who pollute the least, and that is the injustice of climate change. So, let us work together to change this scenario.”

Caring for creation is part of our mandate as Jesus followers on earth. Don’t be discouraged by those who have not understood this. Keep praying and acting and setting an example. Make ongoing changes in your life that will impact on the size of your environmental footprint. Challenge your political leaders to take this seriously. Pray for the Church to be an example by stewarding creation in ways that bring life and well-being to all living creatures. Pray for wisdom to raise children who see this as a part of our Christian discipleship. And pray that we leave a good legacy and life-giving earth for those children to steward in the future.

Let us pray … renew our hearts, God, and renew our world.

Linda Martindale
Micah Global

Resilience and Integral Mission

By David Boan

As Micah prepares for the upcoming Triennial on the theme of resilience, it may be helpful for us to prepare by considering some questions about resilience. In this article I will start with the question of whether there is any evidence for resilience, or if it is mainly an abstract idea or theory. I limit my discussion to recent research, which will also provide some sense of where this topic is heading.

One group of studies focuses on resilience and its effect on disaster recovery and trauma. If resilience means resisting and recovering from harm, such as from a disaster, and if disaster preparedness can be assumed to help a community better resist harm, then several studies show the factors underlying preparedness, and hence resilience.

For example, Hoffman & Muttarak (2017) show that high social capital, in addition to education and disaster experiences, motivates people to prepare for a disaster. What is meant by social capital in these studies varies, but it generally means active participation in the life of the community, including developing connections or relationships across the community. For example, Cui and Han looked at which people maintained their preparedness after a disaster. They found that people with strong community bonds did not show the typical decline in preparedness following a disaster, while people with low community bonds showed a significant decline in preparedness. Their way of measuring bonds emphasized social cooperation and engagement, which is a type of social capital.

A different approach is illustrated by researchers such as Ogtem-Young (2018) who questioned the approach of linking resilience to disasters and trauma. His view is in the tradition of many social scientists who argue that a disaster-oriented approach leaves out the many cultural and local community elements important to understanding resilience. He describes how resilience develops from everyday experiences and particularly how everyday faith plays an important role in resilience. Using in-depth interviews, he showed how people encounter loss, discrimination, crime, and other hardships, and how their ability to cope with these events is an important example of resilience. Further, religion was an important resilience factor for many but not all subjects. The role of religion depended on other factors, such as education, culture, and economic status.

The importance of these studies is that they show how we are clarifying the underlying constructs that lead to resilience. They show that resilience is not a single or homogenous trait, but rather a collection of actions (ongoing social interactions) and traits (bonds, awareness, strategies) that broadly lead to a variety of conditions that we association with healthiness, including the ability to respond to harm. Importantly, a number of authors are describing how those important actions and traits are not just those associated with disasters, but are part of the fabric and everyday life. This is important for many reasons, not the least of which is because of how difficult it is to keep people focused on disaster events that may never occur.

Finally, this work is important for the connection to faith and church, both of which appear often in discussions of resilience. This leads us to an intriguing question that I will take up next: Is there support for the idea that Integral Mission leads to greater resilience?


Hoffmann, R.; Muttarak, R. (2017) Learn from the Past, Prepare for the Future: Impacts of Education and Experience on Disaster Preparedness in the Philippines and Thailand. World Dev. 96, 32–51, doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.02.016.

Ögtem-Young, O. (2018). Faith resilience: Everyday experiences. Societies, 8(1), 10-10. doi:10.3390/soc8010010

Cui & Han (in press) Does social capital determine disaster preparedness and health consultations after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Power Station accident? IJERPH

Bride Price – Lobola

Lawrence Temfwe of Zambia shares his thoughts on Lobola …

In what could prove to be a landmark case for Southern Africa, a Zimbabwean woman has gone to the highest court in the land to challenge the payment of the bride price. Priccilar Vengesai, a Harare lawyer, wants the Constitutional Court to deal with the matter. Her contention is that a bride payment (or lobola) leaves a woman subject to her husband’s control. In the paper she has filed, she, contends that “women’s rights to dignity, equality and non-discrimination were at stake and that the court should be quick to declare the customary practice unconstitutional.”(

In September, Jubilee Centre sponsored 5 young people from the Chifubu Network of Churches’ Junior Parliament to Seychelles (a small island off the coast off east Africa). It was an exchange program with National Youth Parliament of the country. During one of the cultural discussions, the youth from Seychelles heard for the first time about the bride price. The young women and men of that country could not believe that there was such a thing in Zambia. One narrated, “It is like going to the grocery store to pick up a product.” Ms. Vengesais argues that a woman is reduced to an object. The young people of Zambia could not convince their counterparts from Seychelles that this practice dignifies the woman. Three young men and two young women are now asking: What is a Christian response is to the bride price, especially in our context where prices are us much as K60,000 ($6000)?

I am not a good example to this debate because I did not pay the bride price. I had long before disagreed with the practice and had talked with Martha about it in the past. When I proposed and she said yes, we were in agreement that I will not pay bride price for her.  When her father heard that her daughter was going to get married to a ‘priest’ (he is Anglican), he was so happy. Further, when he heard that I would not afford bride price he told my wife’s uncles that there be no bride price “because my daughter and her husband are going to serve the Lord.”  When I heard the news, I told my wife to be, “The Lord paid it all.” WOW.

At the Global Leadership Summit in Lusaka two weeks ago, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, shared in her interview with Bill Hybels that, in her experience, when a girl demonstrates leadership qualities she is considered “bossy.” However, when it is a boy, he is assumed to have leadership qualities. She stated, “I believe women can lead more in the workplace. I believe men can contribute more at home and I believe this will create a better world.” After her talk participants were broken into groups to discuss her interview. In the group I visited, one of the women said it would be very difficult for Zambian men to contribute more at home because culture teaches us that the place for a woman is in the kitchen. She further stated that it will take a man to stand up against such a culture and such men are rare and women have no power because they are sold as if they were slaves.

As the church, we know that the first family did not have to pay bride price because God brought the two people together and gave the wife as a gift and helper to the man. Love was to be the bond not ‘lobola’ and the goal was oneness. If we understand marriage as a gift from God, there will be no room to think that ones’ sex is superior. Our focus as the church or family ought to be the happiness of the two God is bringing together. The church in Southern Africa must have a second look at whether bride price really does reduce women to mere objects that are open to abuse. Paul tells us that “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:28,29).

The Meaning of Peace

By Samuel Muderhwa

Peace is an easy path to tread

Peace is where our fears are mislaid
Peace is beginning to restore
peace for each man and women and children
peace for the troubled streets gone wild
peace is the old and young
peace in the end will overcome
peace builds trust into a lifestyle
peace is a friendly open hand
peace is a place to understand
peace is a legacy to leave
peace is when we do not have to grieve
peace is why we negotiate
peace is an end to all the hate
peace for all the victims of war.

For the original post, click here.

Accountability cuts both ways

(Written in 2015, by Eddie Arthur)

A few days ago, I wrote a post which suggested that it is unhealthy when Western
Christians use their funds to control how the Church in the rest of the world
grows, develops and theologises.

Predictably, there were some responses saying that there has to be financial
accountability. Obviously, there need to be controls and agreements to ensure that
money is used in an honest and transparent fashion; that goes without saying, but
when people talk about accountability, they generally mean much more than this.
In effect it is the modern way of expressing the old saying “he who pays the piper
calls the tune”.

To compound things further, accountability is almost always one way. Those who
are receiving funds have to meet targets, fill in forms, prove compliance with
objectives and jump through all sorts of other hoops, but there are rarely any
similar constraints placed on the funders.

Before you read on, it may be worth looking at this article from the Guardian,
which illustrates some rather dodgy fund-raising practices. It would be nice to
think that Christian organisations are immune from these sorts of things; but in
my experience they are not. Indeed, Christian organisations can be worse because
they add a layer of spiritual gloss to their stories which increases the pathos, if
not the veracity.

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for accountability standards that
should be placed on Christian funders in the West by organisations and churches
in the developing world.

• You will tell our stories and use our photographs honestly and accurately.
• You will not portray us as people who are unable to help ourselves or to do
anything without aid from the West.
• You will not use our stories or photographs to build contingency or
administrative funds for your organisation.
• You will not use disasters in our area (or anywhere else for that matter) to
raise the profile of your organisation or to raise funds for other parts of the
• Good relationships are always mutual. You have to learn to receive
blessings from us, just as we have to be humble to receive finance from

Simon commented on my earlier piece:

What’s particularly interesting is that in a discussion about *partnership*, the only thing people have talked about is who gives *money* to whom.

I make no apology for this. Simon is implying that there is far more to life and
partnership than finance (see my last bullet point, above) and he is dead right.
But money is particularly important in many situations because it is used as an
instrument of power and influence and has the power to distort partnerships and

By Eddie Arthur

See related text here:

Creating Shalom and the Challenge of Cities

Through the collaborative vision and work of Dr. Chris Elisara–director of the World Evangelical Alliance’s Creation Care Task Force, and Dr. Ash Barker–director of the International Society for Urban Mission, the Urban Shalom Project started at Micah Global’s triannual consultation in Peru, 2015.  It gained further momentum at two important gatherings in October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador. The first was the Gospel and the Future of Cities summit followed by the UN’s Habitat III conference. For participants, both events highlighted the crucial importance of cities and the need for faith communities to directly and positively contribute to building just cities, towns, and neighborhoods that are commensurate with God’s vision and desire for shalom.

The world is urbanizing at an unprecedented rate with over 2/3 of the world’s population expected to live in cities within the next 50 years. This creates both a series of ‘wicked’ or complex challenges as well as wonderful opportunities for faith communities to engage. The door is open for us to participate in creating great urban spaces where everyone can find a place to belong and experience a sense of shalom or flourishing as the biblical picture of humanity points.

The concept of urban shalom is propelled by Micah Global’s emphasis on integral or holistic mission, and beckons communities of faith to move beyond existing modes of engagement to take seriously the challenge and opportunities that cities present.

The Urban Shalom Project, a key Micah Global initiative, aims to equip and empower the Church, Christian NGO’s and others to engage in conversations and actions around the UN’s New Urban Agenda which is setting the tone for the development of cities over the next 20 years. The document itself, ratified by most of the nations of the world and put together by city leaders, practitioners, academics, urban planners and a range of NGO’s echoes biblical aspirations for our communities and cities, creating the opportunity for significant partnerships between faith communities and the broader community.

To help churches in this task the Urban Shalom Project has run forums in Melbourne, Sydney, Thailand and Birmingham, with more planned for Detroit, Cincinnati and parts of Africa. In partnership with local people the forums aim to frame a theology of shalom, an understanding of cities and the complex systems that make them up. They also allow space for local people to talk about place making, community development, urban planning, issues of land use and a myriad of other local solutions and processes that might rise out of their context. We are keen to see these aptly named Urban Shalom Forums picked up in countries around the world. As a local or regional leader if you are interested in running an Urban Shalom Forum please see our website or contact Andre Van Eymeren, co-convener of the project ( for more details.

Lastly, this upcoming November 10-15 (2017) in Singapore, the WEA as part of the Urban Shalom Project is hosting a UN-Habitat Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC). Twenty six UN Thinkers Campuses were held in the lead up to Habitat III and played a key part in the formation of the New Urban Agenda. The campuses are now focused on implementation. We would like to invite you to join us in Singapore for what we believe will be a ground-breaking event. For the first three days we will meet as a Christian community to look at issues such as;

  • Theology of Cities and Urbanism (including the Church, mission, evangelism, spiritual formation, etc.)
  • The Academy and Education
  • Slums/Unplanned Communities
  • Community Development (includes homeless issues)
  • Urban Design (includes housing and ecological sustainability)
  • Land Tenure
  • Good Governance
  • Data and Technology
  • Health and Cities (includes violence and safety)
  • Youth & Leadership Development
  • Business, Productivity, and Economic Justice

In the final two days we will join with representatives of the world’s faiths to continue these conversations, the outcomes of which will include a side-by-side compendium of commitments and long-term strategic plans each individual religion, or religious organization, is willing to develop and execute to support the goals of the NUA. If you are interested in being a part of this event in Singapore please email Dr. Chris Elisara (

We are also developing a number of resources to help churches and others engage with urban challenges. The latest edition of The New Urban World Journal is available online at The journal aims to provide a voice for activists, practitioners and academics to share and be resourced on solutions and thinking around urban issues. We are also producing a book from our time in Quito which will be released in October, details will be available on the website.

For more information on the project please connect with one of the conveners;

Dr. Ash Barker –

Dr. Chris Elisara –

Andre Van Eymeren MA –

Sign up for updates here:



Love our Enemies

At the very heart of the Gospel, the Mission of God and the Vision of the Kingdom is Peace – Shalom.

We are called to follow the Prince of Peace and to be peacemakers (Mt 5:9). We are told to love our enemies and pray for them (Mt 5:44). The teaching of peace permeates every part of the New Testament and Jesus demonstrates this clearly in his unconditional love leading to his ultimate sacrifice.

When Jesus was confronted by Pilate and asked if he was a King he affirmed it but clarified the distinctive response to his Kingdom in John 18:36 – if his Kingdom was like a kingdom of the world then his people would be fighting to free him. (One of his followers did try that by cutting off the ear of a soldier on Jesus’ arrest – but Jesus immediately stopped this and healed the ear – explicitly telling Peter to put his sword away). No, Jesus’ Kingdom is different – it is not like that of this world – it is a Kingdom of peace and reconciliation, of healing and restoration.

It is a ‘pagan’ assumption that the only way to win is through conquering your enemies. It is an ignorant and foolish response that simply escalates violence, with revenge upon revenge. This approach was “Christianised’ by Constantine in the 4th Century when he invited believers to share power and conquer the world in Jesus’ name. This is the exact opposite of what the Gospel is really about and you only have to follow Jesus’ life to see that clearly. Victory will never be won through conquering, through violence. It will only be won by loving our enemies, serving and blessing others – even to the point of sacrifice – for this is exactly what Jesus did and we are called to follow him.

Colossians 1:19 – God is reconciling all to himself in Jesus.

Why does the world not see this truth? The mind can never see what the heart is unwilling to obey. In fact, when our hearts rebel and disobey, our minds become clouded and we see only what we want to see, that which feeds pride, envy and selfishness.

When any nation feels under threat it seeks to unite by identifying a common enemy, a common threat – and calls everyone together to face this threat. The comradery in a military unit is strengthened by a unifying call to stand against an identified enemy. When this kind of unity is associated with patriotism and fanned into flame with fear, the possibility of peace decreases. Into this context Jesus calls us to love and not hate, to bless and not curse, to serve and seek nothing in return, to sacrifice and to not respond in violence.

As we remember the ultimate love and sacrifice that Jesus did for us all this Easter, may we earnestly give our lives over to seeking shalom, to being shalom bringers to our world.

For us to be peacemakers and reconcilers we first need to be at peace with God. We can never lead people to peace if we ourselves are not there.

Our Prayer:

Lord, search our hearts and minds, and show us each as individuals and as churches anything that is blocking us from being in the centre of your peace and presence.

Lord, as we seek to be reconcilers, help us to forgive unconditionally and seek forgiveness from one another so that we may be one.

Holy Spirit, we stand together and pray for those who use power to hurt, destroy and kill, we pray for those who exploit, abuse and steal, and we cry out for those who selfishly hold onto resources when others are in need – hear our prayer. Reveal you love through us to one another – your amazing, liberating, healing, life-giving love.

Come and heal Lord Jesus.

By Sheryl Haw