When I think of peace, I think of non-violence. And when I think of non-violence, my mind often takes me to Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
These guys led their followers into peace by refusing to engage in violence. And the results of their work changed many minds, including my own, forever.
However, it has been well documented that these men were far from perfect. They had dark sides, or as Carl Jung puts it, ‘shadows’. In fact, as I read through my Bible and take in the stories of the heroes there, it is very clear that none of the people that we often look up to in scripture are even close to being perfect. They all seem to have their own ‘shadows’.
I actually think that this is a big part of the rationale for why these stories are even there. I believe they exist so that we can see that great things happen as a result of the efforts of ordinary, broken people.
I am an ordinary, broken person with shadows. I work with other ordinary, broken people with shadows. Together, we are trying our best to bring peace to our city. We are trying to bring peace to our streets.
Sometimes when we finally realize that we have our own shadows, it leaves us to doing nothing for peace. Sometimes we think that because we are broken, we have nothing to offer.
These stories, these so-called heroes, are meant to tell us something completely opposite to that. They tell us to keep trying.
Of course, we do need to work on those shadows in our lives, but that’s not to say we shouldn’t keep working for peace. I believe as we continue to look deeply into our own lives, once we realize we’re not perfect but have something to offer the world nonetheless, we can keep on striving more peacefully to be ‘the hand of God in the heart of the city’.
Prayer for Peace
Most gracious God and Father,
in whose will is our peace:
turn our hearts and the hearts of all to yourself,
that by the power of your Spirit
the peace which is founded on righteousness
may be established throughout the whole world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(adapted from here)