Peace in Jerusalem? That sounds good!

The present-day city of Jerusalem is increasingly becoming a symbol for heated relations between peoples, traditions, and religions. Its inhabitants are constantly arguing about who has the privilege to live there in peace. A contradiction in itself!

Tomorrow, 21 September, it will be on the calendar once again: the United Nations’ International Day of Peace. An important date, one would think. But what does the reality look like? Is this day of commemoration changing anything? Is it really making the world more peaceful?

  • Some say, “Yes! A great many things have changed. The world has become safer. Now the world community is quicker to get involved whenever things become precarious in different places around the globe. And at the same time, those who would rather negotiate than go to war against one another are now in the majority. The terrible times of the cold war are over. Peace plans, Marshall Plans, and disarmament treaties have been negotiated and signed. These are now documents of modern history and are evidence of the human longing for a peaceful world.”
  • And others say, “Nothing has changed! The opponents are still there, facing one another in anger. And even today, it is the more powerful side that prevails again and again. Streams of disoriented people are running around the world without a goal—over 60 million people are on the run. Their struggle for water and their effort to escape from war have made them homeless. The world is further from global peace today than it has ever been before!”

Peace: It’s about time

And indeed, mankind seems not to have realised the seriousness of the matter yet. Disputes, conflicts, or even wars are capable of very quickly destroying things that nature—or society—has taken many years to create. War destroys and crushes. Ambition, lust for power, and egotistical attitudes incite people to fight against one another. The “Me first!” attitude only helps one person. On the other hand, an “all of us together” mind-set can be a help to many. Only where there is peace can new things come into being.

In order to pay proper tribute to peace, the following principle must apply: all human beings are equal before God—even if despots, authorities, and dictators refuse to acknowledge this. There is no such thing as superior and inferior, great and small, or right and wrong. To take oneself as the standard of comparison to others is more an expression of powerlessness and lacking awareness than of power and authority.

Peace: both within and without

Tomorrow, humanity will celebrate the United Nations’ International Day of Peace. What are we to make of that? “Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces. For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, ‘Peace be within you.’ Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good.” This Bible text from the 122nd Psalm will constitute the basis of the divine services in the New Apostolic Church. This refers to the Jerusalem of the heart, of the family, and of one’s surroundings. Peace is to prevail in all of these places because human beings make the endeavour to make it so.

The peacemakers—not the brawlers and warmongers—will be called children of God. In order to live in harmony with one another, love for one’s neighbour, consideration, and understanding for others must take on greater value. The avoidance of prejudices must become a priority again. In place of this, patience and self-control are to define our dealings with one another. Doing good things for other people paves the way for peace. And all those who long for peace are on a common path!

As of 2005, New Apostolic congregations around the world have been called upon to participate in the International Day of Prayer for Peace. zu beteiligen. As usual, the officiating ministers in the congregations will go into this subject during the midweek or Sunday divine service.

Photo: beerphotographer/fotolia

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Peter Johanning
Denominations, Social commitment