Give Peace a Chance

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler

A friend of mine, Christine Anderson, recently traveled to some of the most troubled countries on earth—Rwanda, the Congo, Lebanon, and Israel. Everywhere she went she met people who were haunted by violence, longing for one thing—peace. During her time in Israel, she visited Bethlehem. Approaching the separation wall that divides the West Bank from Israel, she expected to see the Palestinian side covered with angry graffiti. She was right about the graffiti but not about the angry part. In fact she was so startled by the expressions scrawled across the wall that she took several photographs. Here’s what was written across various portions of the wall:

 

Peace

To Dream of Peace

Give Peace a Chance

Jesus Said Peace I Give You (John 14:27)

Make Love, Not Wall

End This Madness

The most poignant image was that of a dove with an olive sprig in its mouth. Why so poignant? The dove is wearing a bullet proof vest!

Later Christine had a chance to meet with some professors at Bethlehem Bible College. For them, she points out, peace is inextricably linked to justice. They recoil at the way some Christians talk about peace, as though it is merely an interior experience or just about “Jesus and me.”

“Peace,” she says, “is something for which they work very hard and sacrifice a great deal in exceedingly concrete terms—dollars, careers, loved ones.” Her travels in Africa and the Middle East were both fascinating and disturbing. “I was overwhelmed,” she says, “with how very wrenching and difficult this thing of ‘making peace’ really is. It is not for the faint of heart.”

The peace we long for, the peace that the world is dying to have, is costly. It comes not by wishing but by sacrificing. It comes, in fact, in the shape of a cross.

 
Originally published July 07, 2011.

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