Peace with Justice

May's focus:

  • Asian/Pacific Heritage Month
  • Mother’s Day
  • Mental Health Month
  • Peace with Justice

"When I pray for peace, I pray not only that the enemies of my own country may cease to want war, but above all that my country will cease to do the things that make war inevitable."
Thomas Merton

As I walked through my neighborhood pharmacy to pick up a prescription, I began glancing at the Mother's Day cards to send to family members. I love my identity as a mother because, most of the time, it is a joyful, life-giving role. I will do anything to advocate that my children receive the best that there is to experience in life. The challenging part of what I just wrote is that "my children" can be defined in many ways. As someone following Jesus, I have to recognize that all of the children in our world have been entrusted to me and the communities of which I am a part. In a society that promotes individualism and fuels the marketing machines of greeting cards and chocolates, it is easy to forget that Mother's Day was originally a plea for an end to war. Julia Ward Howe knew that all of God's children were suffering. Rather than advocating only for those in her immediate family, she chose to advocate for all people — mothers, fathers and children — impacted by war.

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!
Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.
Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Julia Ward Howe (Boston 1870)

As you prepare to celebrate those who have mothered you, how will you honor Jesus' call that we keep watch and pray? This month's resource written by Wesley Seminarian Lauren Blitz focuses on a children's book titled, Because of You. As I read the book to my children, I know that it is because of them that I share with so many the identity of being a mother. I cannot seek justice for my children and not do the same for the children caught in the horrors of war, children being abused and trafficked, children in our prison systems… all those who suffer because of the ways that we have ordered our world.

Jesus brought good news to us all. To whom are you a witness to the liberating power of Christ?

"What leads to peace is not violence but peaceableness, which is not passivity, but an alert, informed, practiced, and active state of being."
American essayist Wendell Berry

Resources

Asian/ Pacific Heritage Month

"You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake."
Jeannette Rankin

Mother’s Day

"You can't shake hands with a clenched fist."
Indira Ganhdi

Mental Health Month

"The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind."
Maya Angelou

  • Faith and Menthal Health — Bulletin insert with mental health infographic and information, produced by the General Board of Global Ministries and the General Board of Church and Society.
  • Mental Health Ministries — Provides educational resources to help erase the stigma of mental illness in faith communities (website)
  • Mental Health America (MHA) — The country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthier lives (website)

Peace with Justice