Our congregation’s latest article for the Center for Diversity and Reconciliation column published by the News-Leader.
For Christians, Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of the season of Lent, a six-week journey preparing Christians for Easter and the hope of the resurrection — a hope which stands as an age-old symbol that love is stronger than all the powers that try to contain it, including the powers of death and violence.
There’s no doubt that far too much death and violence takes its toll in our world, so much so that sometimes it feels like all hope is lost. For those who have suffered the sheer brutality and horror of ISIS, for victims of violence in our own community, including Officer Aaron Pearson as well as all of the others in our community whose lives have been affected or even taken far too soon, and for those who feel like their lives are empty and meaningless and don’t know if the world needs them anymore, or if it ever did, our hearts break, and we weep.
Sometimes we don’t have words for the sadness that overcomes us, and all we can do is hope that, indeed, love is stronger than all the powers that try to contain it.
At the Center for Diversity and Reconciliation, we don’t sentimentalize the realities of our world or try to escape into some ideological vault that serves as a buffer for what negatively haunts it. Instead, we try to dig deeply into the root causes of violence and victimization in order to try to help give birth to a better, more humane world.
While we are a faith-based organization, we recognize that this requires a partnership that crosses many historic divides and barriers in order to do the shared work of peacemaking. We know that there isn’t any perfect tradition — whether faith-based or not. We are all flawed in one way or another, which is part of what makes us human. At the same time, one of the gifts of being human is that we recognize that another way of being is possible, and it is our responsibility, and desire, to live into it. Together.
If you would like to join us on this journey, whether you consider yourself religious or not, we hope you will do so. There are too many victims of violence in our community and our world. What we need are those with the courage and conviction to be peacemakers in the spirit of Jesus, Gandhi, and King. It isn’t easy work, but in the long run it’s perhaps the most important of all.