Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September 13: Creating Space for Nonviolence

"He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more."

- Isaiah 2:4
We loved watching the Olympics games from Rio De Janeiro; we had a bad case of Olympic fever! Our kids could not get enough of the swimming and diving, the track and field, even the archery and fencing. Sports that we would not normally give a passing thought to, for those two weeks, had our attention and love. But as our family was watching the Olympics, we frequently had to change the channel during the commercials. Where we would normally speed through on our TiVo DVR, our two young children were subject to advertisements for violent movies, television shows, and innuendoes meant for adults. This led our son to cover his eyes every time the gymnastics went to a commercial break.

For many children, this type of violence isn’t just reserved for the commercial break but is apart of their every day life. At school, at home, on the bus, and on the playground, there is no TiVo remote to pass and no place to cover their eyes because the violence, yelling, and fighting is always there.
Yet, as Christians our response is to create a safe environment where our children know that they are loved. We may not have swords to beat into plowshares, but we have fists that we can turn into an open hand to hold. We may have not spears to turn into pruning hooks, but we have words that can go from being filled with hatred and prejudice to ones full of love and hope. We can create a place where eyes don’t have to be covered because our corner of God’s world is one filled with the peace of Christ.
O loving God, help us create a safe environment for our children to know that they are loved. 

David Yonker is the Senior Pastor of the First Christian Church in Burlington, Iowa. He and his wife Liz are the parents of two young children, Sam and Emmy. 

Our 2016 prayer vigil theme is Helping Our Children Heal from Violence. For more resources visit  disciplesjustice4children.org and docfamiliesandchildren.org. 

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