Season of Peace Reflection for 10/2

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us. Selah

That your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.

May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.

Reflection: Nonviolent struggle has proven to be a powerful means of wielding power in a variety of conflicts. The nonviolent “people power” revolution in the Philippines brought down the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. Pro-democracy movements in Poland, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia ousted communist regimes in 1989. The anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, supported by international economic pressure, brought an end to white minority rule. A nonviolent student movement in Serbia ousted Milosevic in 2000. Christians participated in these movements for social change, using methods of nonviolent action reminiscent of the civil rights movement that changed the United States. Then, in early 2011, Arabs all across North Africa and the Middle East took to the streets, calling for freedom and democracy in what has become known as the Arab Spring. Their struggles continue, despite violent repression and civil war in some states.

Nonviolent people power movements have shown themselves capable of overthrowing dictators, thwarting coups d’état, defending against invasions and occupations, challenging unjust systems, promoting human rights, and resisting genocide. Jesus’ third way of nonviolent action may not work in all circumstances, but the historical record shows that it is a powerful means of engaging in conflict and can be used successfully in struggles for justice, human rights, and self-determination.

Question for discernment: How do you see God at work in the social movements of peoples and nations?

Prayer: We praise you, O God. We praise you in song and story. We give you thanks for the movement of your Spirit inspiring peoples and nations all around the world to engage in nonviolent struggles for social change. Help us to learn from them and to build upon their experiences.

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