Prioritizing Peace

Prioritizing Peace

Andrew Larsen serves with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.

How do we make sense of the misinformation, destruction, and violence that is seen in so many corners of our world? We see throughout the planet the pain and anguish of our siblings and we struggle knowing how to react. Where does our call to discipleship and being faithful Christ-followers intersect with the brokenness around us? Is it all too much to make sense of?

Resisting going numb and remaining resilient with God’s accompaniment can be a challenging prospect. But hope has always been a tenet of our faith, the bulwark against the storm of despair. Hope acts as a partner to our faith and keeps us connected to each other and the community.

And we may need an abundance, an overflowing, an uncontainable amount of hope as we imagine a future built on love, connection, peace, and joy. Using imagination as a spiritual practice to think creatively and boldly about how to be agents of peacebuilding. Where we might need to flex and train our imagination muscles to consider those who we might not always consider being included in the immensity of the Creator’s love. Work out our imagination to be a place of self-reflection and introspection on how justice can thrive in new and meaningful ways. Stretch our imagination to think of how do we continue to be emboldened by the grace of God to live out the good news and build the Kin-dom on justice and peace. Where our imagination, when it sometimes atrophies and weakens, is revitalized by the awe we find in God and our ever-committed relationship with the Divine.

For our partners in the Philippines, the UCCP, our imagination, and creative thinking are needed as church leaders continue to be attacked by the government and harassed by the state. The UCCP calls on the church to pray for peace. The UCCP calls on the church to call out the injustices and prioritize peace.

In a recent declaration by the All-Conference Ministers and the Council of Bishops, they reiterated their commitment to being God’s children and working towards peace. Here they stand against attacks on church leaders,

“Pray for our Church’s leaders and members, whose lives are in danger and whose personal and family lives are ruined by reckless and ill-motivated accusations of criminal acts.

May the God of justice and love will stand up for them and protect them. In light of this, let us be reminded of Paul’s encouragement to the Ephesian Church:

…Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6: 10-12 NRSV).”

Andrew Larsen serves with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.

Make a gift that supports the work of Andrew Larsen