The scenes that have come to our television screens of the once-romantic island of Tahiti have brought home to us with graphic detail the impact of the nuclear testing in the Pacific. Just as peace was shattered on the tiny atoll of Muroroa when the nuclear device was detonated, the aftershocks reverberated through communities around the world. It is a reminder that the search for peace is not simply harmonious relationships with human beings, but also with the environment in which we live. Peace is more than the absence of strife and conflict between people: it embraces the whole of creation.
In Romans 8, Paul talks of creation waiting with eager expectation, that it might be liberated, indicating that creation was being redeemed, not just humankind. If we therefore have a ministry of reconciliation, it too must have a wholistic approach, embracing the redemption of the whole of creation, not simply wanting to "save souls", although it be an important part of our ministry.
With news of a growing
"ozone hole" over the Antarctic, floods and famines, earthquakes and the
like, we have evidence of the impact on creation of our lack of peace with
God and with one another. We are encouraged to "live at peace with
one another", which does not mean avoiding conflict, but engendering an
environment in which peace can flourish; being aware of the totality of
all that peace represents. I wonder how we are able to read the quality
of our peacemaking in the world?
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