This morning I read the Birmingham Pledge of Nonviolence. Written in 1963, it was a core document that formed the nonviolent protest with Martin Luther King Jr. that led to the March on Washington and Civil Rights legislation. I read the description of the protestors, the young people that marched with him and how they were fire-hosed yet did not stop their protest. And their protest changed the country. Is the battle finished? No, not yet, but I’m convinced it will only be moved forward as we learn to live as Powerful Peacemakers, followers of the Prince of Peace.
To live non-violently one has to be strong. It begins with internal strength where we will not be violent to ourselves or hold negative thoughts to others. That takes strength for me! Good core strength. Then we must determine to treat others with kindness, graciousness and compassion, surrendering into the rivers of forgiveness. Nonviolent communication and deep listening become our way of life. That’s a huge challenge too for me! The third step is to engage with groups that are also seeking to bring peace and justice to our world, and to do it non-violently. They are already out there, most likely in your city. There is a peaceful movement. It just doesn’t get the press the violent one does.
To live non-violently one has to be strong. It is not enough to simply say ‘No. No more.’ The protesters in the 60’s were trained in methods of nonviolence. They had their core strengthened to bear suffering. Dr. King wrote, “We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to accept suffering and we will wear you down until justice comes.”
I’ve been inspired by John Dear’s book “The Nonviolent Life”. Perhaps pick it up for some holiday reading…. It’s small, full of questions, full of stories – and, don’t say I didn’t warn you…. an invitation to follow the Prince of Peace into a whole new way of living. We can make a difference. We can resist wrong. We can bring in the Kingdom of God for we are Powerful Peacemakers equipped by God’s Spirit for the battle.
And now I need to leave this wonderful writing desk to re-enter my battlefield… How about you? Where is your battlefield? Within yourself? With your family? At work? In your community?
May you know you are a Powerful Peacemaker and live in the strength of God’s love.
Love and prayers
Contemplative Fire Community Leader Canada