The summer of 2016 is coming to an end. In one way I’m glad, as it was a very HOT summer. By HOT I mean more than just the temperature. The Middle East wars, the US killings between police and suspects, the lone wolf terrorism killings in the U.S., the radicalized muslim terrorism in France, Africa and Belgium. Now Turkey is in a mess after an attempted military takeover. Not to mention the angry and nasty rhetoric of the U.S. Presidential campaigns. It seems everyone is at war!
In a recent interview as he traveled to Poland to for World Youth Day celebrations, Pope Francis commented, “The world is at war because it has lost peace.” This “lost peace” phrase caught my eye.
In the midst of the daily reports of violence this summer, it is a good time to ask, “Where is peace? With all the wars, acts of terror, killing in our streets and hateful commentary in our daily news, does anyone care about peace anymore? In our lives can we only expect more division and conflict between us and them? Can a group of people work together with the purpose to bring peace?” These questions came to mind as I read the interview with Pope Francis. I thought that within this tumultuous world, the need for Anglican Relief and Development’s work is greater now than ever.
So, how do we receive peace in our lives? As Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” But where is the light? Where is the love?
Jesus is love and came to bring us peace. “I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace” (John 16:33). But this is not the peace of the world. Jesus continues, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”
As Christians, we must live in this paradox that we’ve been given. We have everlasting peace from our heavenly father that is available to anyone who accepts Jesus as his or her Savior. Yet we live in a world where peace on earth is elusive. As we step into this tension and grasp the reality of this world, I would submit to you that ARDF is fundamentally a peace initiative serving others in a peace-starved world. Our partners with our gifts and donations bring peace and reconciliation to the most needy, just as Jesus calls us to do.
Matthew 10:40-42 reads, “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” This is why giving is more blessed than receiving — there is a reward for showing the love and peace of Christ in truly tough and needy places.
Happyness Gasper attended secondary school because of an ARDF grant which enabled the construction of a hostel in the Diocese of Tabora, Tanzania. She wrote the following words of gratefulness that are pertinent to the mission of ARDF: “If there were no hostel at the school…I would not have gotten the chance to attend secondary school at all. But, because the hostel accommodations were comparatively affordable and (best of all) safe and Christian, my parents agreed to pay for me to live at the hostel and attend school.” The peace that Happyness and her family had knowing she was in a safe, affordable and Christ-honoring environment is the type of earthbound peace ARDF grants enable.
Perhaps it is only a small “cup of cold water,” but it’s still a sliver of peace to this world. Will you join ARDF as we share this everlasting peace and love of Jesus with others?
May God grant you peace and grace throughout the remaining days of summer and forever more! As we pray in our Anglican tradition – The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you, and remain with you always. Amen.
We are truly grateful for your partnership with ARDF.
Canon William E. Deiss