Lesson 7: Hope for Peace

hopeMost of the Bible was written to people who did not seem to have a future. Faith in God offered hope against hope (Romans 4:18). That faith was informed by stories that often included promises about the future in which peace, justice, and love prevailed.

These promises offered encouragement for pursuing those visions in the present. If the hungry will be fed, the naked clothed, the stranger welcomed, and the sick healed, we are inspired to work with God in doing that now. The visions called for a transformation of society.

I plan to examine the three visions and then analyze the hope they offer.

The promised peace is not so much the absence of war as a community of nations where swords have been turned into plowshares. The vision spurns people to build tools that feed rather than weapons that kill.

Considering the present situation, our question has been whether there is hope for this kind of transformation. We maintain peace by spending almost half of our national treasure on defense. That means we do not provide our people the health care, education, or housing that most advanced societies do. It also sadly does not prevent wars. A friend says we are currently supporting 14 wars fought on foreign soil. Some of these support dictators; some practice genocide.

In this situation hope is built on faith in God’s presence. During Advent, I used devotions written by a Ukrainian woman who wrote about preserving faith during war. She said it meant guarding your heart so you do not grow insensitive to the suffering of other people. The church has to be where the hurt is because that is where God stays.

We are peacemakers then because God calls us to be such. We are to proclaim his promise but also to work with him in overcoming violence. The Ukrainian woman suggests that means Christian communities go where people are suffering for that is where God is found.

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2 Enlightened Replies

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  1. paul wildman says:

    thanks Fritz yes this is a big issue as you say: A friend says we are currently supporting 14 wars fought on foreign soil. Some of these support dictators; some practice genocide.

    How then to retrieve the ‘real’ US from the ‘practice’ that is the US?

    I wonder if it is possible – possibly Pope Francis is showing that retrieving the Catholic Church from the clutches of its history is possible? Such is proving extremely challenging, costly and long term.

    I frankly cant see that hope yet for the US given its present gaggle of politicians and strident support for Israel.

    Thanks for a most stimulating lesson.

    ciao paul

  2. Fritz Foltz says:

    Paul always offer s a thoughtful perspective. I especially appreciate his evaluation of the US situation. Many of us agree with him. American exceptionalism never was a realistic position and certainly it is dangerous in our time


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