By Kristen Johnson
On this day in history, September 22, 1961, President Kennedy signed congressional legislation creating a permanent peace corps. The Peace Corps was designed to “promote world peace and friendship” with three goals: (1) to help the peoples of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women; (2) to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served; and (3) to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans. (History.com)
Today the Peace Corps works on such initiatives as helping girls attain an education, fighting malaria, sustainability and food security, and AIDS relief. In the last 50 years, volunteers have worked in 140 countries to help solve local challenges with community leaders. (Peacecorps.gov.)
The Peace Corps is doing amazing work around the world. But, it seems like a losing battle. Listing all the wars and conflicts currently in progress in the world would take up pages and pages. Just counting them all is an enormous task. Taking a manual count at GlobalSecurity.org we can see 31 current wars and 25 “other” conflicts. Those numbers are absolutely mind-boggling.
In spite of these horrific statistics, what can we possibly do to help build peace in our world? I don’t have all the answers. Perhaps building peace in our own homes and communities is a good start. Perhaps electing officials committed to peace building instead of war mongering is a good start. Perhaps looking into our own prejudices is a good start.
Matthew 5:9 (NRSV):Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Romans 14:19 (NRSV): Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
Romans 12:18 (NRSV): If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Learn from the past. Live in peace. Build peace. Pray for peace.
Serve all with love.
Picture courtesy of: Gratisography.com