Dear beloved community,
I greet you in the name of the crucified and risen Jesus.
Yesterday, in the early morning hours, lying without sleep in my bed, I began to think about what BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz needs to be saying and doing in these days.
Here are my initial thoughts – I welcome you to join in this conversation and, of course, in the work of building and being community.
BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz will be a COMMUNITY OF RESISTANCE. We do not know what is coming, but we have every reason to believe that it will not be good news for those made poor, the imprisoned, and the oppressed. We will practice resistance, calling in particular on the expertise and guidance of those within our network who have long experience in living faithfully in the grip of oppressive power. Our existence as a four-nation network with partners around the world will be a key strength in this work.
We will be a COMMUNITY OF PRAYER. Ours is a faith birthed in occupation. We follow Jesus who lived under threat from the time King Herod learned of his birth to the moment when religious and political authorities turned him over to Roman soldiers to be crucified. To ground ourselves in such a faith is to equip ourselves to live in a world such as ours.
We will be a COMMUNITY OF LOVE. I sat on the bed yesterday morning with my 15-year-old daughter as she sobbed, “What are we going to do?” I share with you what I shared with her – We will love each other well. We will be a family together. We will rely on our communities of faith. We will embrace our friends and, yes, pray for our enemies. We will be the people who live faithfully, recognizing and practicing goodness and kindness, when such values are mocked and derided. Within and beyond our network, there are many with real reasons to fear. We must therefore love each other very well, remembering that love may be represented by a hug or a phone call or by risking arrest in acts of resistance.
We will be a COMMUNITY OF CREATION. My theatrical daughter introduced me to this quote from composer and playwright Jonathan Larson: “The opposite of war isn’t peace, it's creation.” So, even as we wait and work for better times, what are you creating? What can we create together?
Resistance ~ Prayer ~ Love ~ Creation.
This is the work I see ahead.
This work is not new for BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz.
I hope you will be a part of building and being a part of this community. We need each other.
When you have specific requests of how we can support the work of resistance, prayer, love, and creation that you are doing individually, with your congregation, and with other community groups, please contact us. When you have ideas for how we might do this work as a whole, please let us know. We must work together, and we need all the creativity and connections of our wide network to do this well.
I close with these words from our theological statement – may our words, attitudes and actions, even and especially today, be part of bringing forth the world we long to see:
We strive, following Jesus, to listen with openness, speak with conviction,resist evil,receive hostility and return love,break silences which harm,resist cooperation with structures that cause hardship and suffering,practice healing,mend creation’s wounds,offer hospitality to the refugee and the sojourner,insist on human rights,love friend and stranger, ally and enemy: to point with our words, attitudes and actions to the acceptable year of God.