Lesson 8: Proclaim God’s Word and Praying

soldiers prayingThe Book of Revelation based the Christian peace movement on the truth of God’s Word. Believers could uncover truth by using God’s Word as a standard, but also by remaining in contact with God through prayer.

In previous lessons, I maintained the Church is having trouble finding her voice in our present society. Her traditional strategies of pacifism, just war, and crusade no longer speak to warfare with the speed and power of modern technology. She must find a new story by which she can proclaim the Christian message in our time and place.

When I witnessed how people in Italy were responding to Pope Francis’ call for acts of mercy during this Year of Jubilee of Mercy, I sensed this might be a way for finding a new story for our peace movement. Francis proclaimed a Year of Mercy he hoped would usher in a “revolution of tenderness.” He wrote, “We are all sinners, we all carry burdens within us. Jesus wants to open the door of his heart. The real problem is people — not God — who give up on forgiveness, but mercy changes everything. It makes the world a little less cold and more just.” He went on, “The world needs to discover that God is father, that there is mercy, that cruelty is not the path, that condemnation is not the path… Once people realize God loves me the way I am, then I, too, have to love others the same way,” “God’s generous love leads us to acting in a way that’s more tolerant, patient, tender and just.”

Perhaps one of our acts of mercy this Jubilee Year could be to fervently study and teach Jesus’ words about loving our enemies, returning good for evil, and forgiving those who sin against us. Perhaps if we study the Bible message and converse with one another about what it means in our lives, we shall again find words to speak the message for our society.

Pope Francis has, also, witnesses to an essential ingredient of this study. Society will pay attention to our words only if our actions support our words. Papa Francis speaks with integrity, as his life personifies his words. He not only constantly uses the word “gentle” to describe the Christian life, but also practices what he teaches. He spends considerable time with the weak and needy, working diligently to heal broken and exhausted damaged people.

Revelation makes clear prayer is also an essential in practicing peace. Studying how God spoke 2000 years ago has limited value for our own time. Constant prayer is necessary to understand how that Word applies to our situation.

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