Thursday, 20 September 2007

Praying for peace

So it's the International Day of Prayer for Peace
Earlier this week Bishop Duleep from Srilanka preached a pithy and heartfelt sermon in the chapel of the ecumenical centre in Geneva on the issue of peace. He used as an image the fact that in Srilanka people know that if they really want to find water all they have to do is dig, but they don't know how deep they are going to have to dig. He likened this kind of digging to the hard groundwork that needs to be put in and maintained when working for peace.
Earlier in the week we had reflected on violence against women and children and placed stones with names on them on the steps of the altar. We were challenged and asked whether we really believed it possible to find the image of God in the violated and mistreated and if so, what the consequences should be for our own witness to overcoming violence.
At our prayers for peace tomorrow we will reflect on how we can overcome our violence and become living stones and channels of peace.
Is praying just a cop out, a way of trying to salve one's conscience while avoiding the hard work of digging for peace? Sometimes I wonder about that, other days I'm convinced that praying may be the only useful thing I do each day. Coming from a Calvinist I think that could be taken as a pretty ringing endorsement!