Sunday, 22 May 2011

World Sunday for Peace - what is the right hand of God doing in your land?

Today is World Sunday for Peace. Across the world's churches people have been invited to pray for peace, to plant a tree, to use the prayer for peace written by the host churches of the Peace Convocation. Here in Kingston, participants were invited to a wonderful service of praise and celebration in the main tent led by the Jamaican churches and the churches of the Caribbean. We had wonderful choirs, great readings, heartfelt and meaningful prayers, a fabulous steel band with brilliant drumming, dancing and music. We ended with wonderfully rousing singing of the hymn known as the Caribbean anthem "The Right hand of God" - the final verse goes:
The right hand of God is planting in our land
Planting seeds of freedom, hope and love
In these many peopled lands, let his children all join hands
And be one with the right hand of God.

Afterwards the blessing affirmation read:
"And instead of the cacophony of war we will compose a symphony of peace; instead of a world of chaos and confusion, we will create a new order of harmony and solidarity."

And that harmony of blended trained voices, enthusiastic steel drummers and cries of "Amen" accompanied us as we set out into a more gently paced day. A day of rest and enjoyment, time to get to know our host churches, discover some local specialities - (the hot chocolate rum was delicious, thank you!) and even for some to go to the beach. A reminder that #justpeace is not only about striving, writing reports or always "doing" more and more, it is also about making time for one another, letting things settle down and allowing things to emerge. Justpeace may often have to be struggled for but it cannot be achieved by force.

So what might the right hand of God be pointing to for justpeace in your country, in your context, in your life? What seeds of peace and justice are being planted, do we open our eyes to see what is already growing?
The prayer for peace written by the Caribbean churches and shared today with the world's churches begins:

God of peace and possibility, Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier: We approach you to ask once again for your mercy, forgiveness and a fresh start. We ask you to help us give peace a chance, in this world.
Even as World Sunday for Peace closes may our prayers for justpeace continue.
Here are the links to the different language versions.