Dear St. Paul’s family,
When I go shopping for Christmas cards, I notice that a lot of beautiful cards carry the message “Peace on Earth”. This speaks to the core of our faith. The angels sang of peace on earth when they brought the good news to the shepherds, and we acclaim Jesus as Prince of Peace. Working for peace is a central part of our life as followers of Jesus.
The Cathedral has a ministry that focuses on the ministry of peacemaking: our Peace and Justice committee seeks to reconcile these two sometimes conflicting values. How can there be true peace in the world and in our hearts without justice for all? How can justice prevail without a lasting peace?
As we approach the feast of the Nativity, what are you doing to help the cause of peace in our world? While none of us has the power to end a war or turn weapons into plowshares, we can take individual and corporate steps. We can make contributions to organizations that work for peace and justice, such as Episcopal Relief and Development (er-d.org) or the Episcopal Peace fellowship (EPFnational.org). We can participate in letter-writing campaigns and marches to make known our commitment to peace.
I have been receiving inquiries from all over the country about the situation at the border and the migrant families that need assistance both in San Diego and in Tijuana. Episcopalians are very concerned with justice for those seeking asylum, and we open our hearts to people who are fleeing their home countries in search of peace. Several local organizations are trying to help with material assistance; if you too would like to help, please let me know and I will send you contact information.
On an individual level, we can each be peacemakers in our own community. Sometimes all it takes to bring peace in a relationship is to listen carefully to the other, without trying to change someone’s mind, or to be the first to apologize or forgive. As members of the Jesus movement we have a responsibility to take the initiative for peace and for justice too, treating all people with dignity and honoring each individual as a child of God. We can refrain from passing on inflammatory messages (even on social media!). And we can offer each other a sign of peace: a handshake, a hug, a smile, or a thank-you each contributes to a peaceful environment.
My prayer for you in these latter days of Advent is that you will know the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, and that you will find the grace to share that peace with one other person. The peace of the Lord be always with you.
Your sister in Christ,