Spirit of Peace

About 9 years ago I became a Mennonite and entered into the peace church tradition. For many Mennonites the Sunday before Remembrance Day is Peace Sunday. Buttons are handed out with the slogan “to remember is to work for peace.” Some people wear them as an addition to their poppy, others as an alternative. The idea is to widen the discussion around peacemaking and who needs to be included in our remembrance. In addition to the soldiers sacrifice we remember the civilian casualties the conscientious objectors and the peace activists. We remember our dead and our “enemy’s” dead. We remember that Jesus said “blessed are the peacemakers” and “love your enemies.” We remember that not all wars happen far away. We remember civil rights champions, indigenous land defenders, and environmental protectors. We also join in because peace is not the absence of the bad stuff it is the active stepping into what should be.

As I think about all these ideas of peace it also makes me think of the spirit of the city where I live. Something unique is happening in Hamilton, churches are working together. Ministries like GOHOP & True City have been living into a spirit of peace by putting aside the differences between churches and working together to learn from each other. This is not the norm in other communities. What is different in Hamilton?

It might be the land. Geography matters and some locations are “thin places” where there is a special connection to an aspect of the divine. In Hamilton that connection is tied to peace and sharing. Our city falls under the “dish with one spoon” wampum agreement. This “wampum was created to bind the Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy to the Great Law of Peace. The Dish represents the shared land, while One Spoon reinforces the idea of sharing and peace.” (McMaster Land Acknowledgements Guide)

Churches and Christians who wonder why they have found this spiritual resonance with sharing and peace have tapped into the legacy of the land they live on. The Creator has been whispering a spirit of peace here for a long time. Now there is still a lot of work to do (especially in the area of truth & reconciliation) but that is where all these narratives come together because “to remember is to work for peace!”


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Rage

Yesterday I was enraged. Just livid. I wanted to unleash my righteous anger and to teach the offenders a lesson. As I was heading home to compose the most scathing of social media posts I was stopped. Luckily I don’t have data on my phone so I couldn’t instantly express my rage. As I was stomping off to the bus stop I turned on the podcast I downloaded.

Every Monday I listen in to the Sunday teaching from the Meeting House church. I use to tease meeting-housers (mostly in good fun but sometimes in jealousy) for being a mega church with a 1984 style talking head projected onto movie screens. A number of years ago I started listening to the sermons they post. 9 years ago I became a Mennonite and was looking for accessible voices from an Anabaptist perspective (the tribe of theology Mennonites are part of). The Meeting House fit the bill.

Fast forward to yesterday and I’m hearing Bruxy Cavey (a Meetinghouse teacher) talk about how social media has become a tool for “othering” and self righteousness. Feeling a little calmer I wrote a couple private emails to people and organizations directly and then I drew this picture in my art journal. I don’t want to be a person of rage (justice yes, rage no). I also don’t want to inspire rage and hate in people who disagree with me. I want to be full of grace & peace and be a person that is open to healthy conversations steeped in grace & peace.


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