“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9 NIV)
Growing up, my mother read to us from Elizabeth Bauman’s 1954 Herald Press book Coals of Fire, a collection of stories of peaceful responses to violence. I was drawn to these accounts of active peacemaking in spite of my quick temper and assertive nature.
Later, as I served with MCC in Nicaragua, local Anabaptist church leaders expressed consternation that their early understanding of the gospel had not included the gospel of peace in the very welcome message of salvation. Many were involved in peace commissions in rural communities divided over political issues, and they knew there was a rich tradition in trying to follow Jesus’ call in the Sermon on the Mount. Together we learned how to connect our faith in Jesus with peacebuilding in a divided country.
This issue of A Common Place focuses on MCC’s commitment to include peace in all our work in the name of Christ. As part of the larger mission of the church, MCC embraces the shared convictions of the nearly 1.5 million global Anabaptists connected through Mennonite World Conference. I think of one of these convictions, which clearly links our faith to a life of peacebuilding: “The Spirit of Jesus empowers us to trust God in all areas of life so we become peacemakers who renounce violence, love our enemies, seek justice, and share our possessions with those in need.”
This is spiritual work, and we need your prayers for MCC’s efforts. And, as supporter Kay Miller Kempf notes on the last page, your gift of financial support “transforms you.”
I invite you to read these stories with a heart and mind open to how God is calling you to be a blessed peacemaker.
Ann Graber Hershberger
MCC U.S. Executive Director