Monday, December 24, 2012

A Sowing of Peace by Sherry Glenn (reprinted from Advent Devotions - 1996)

Zechariah 8:12

“The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people. 13 Just as you, Judah and Israel, have been a curse among the nations, so I will save you, and you will be a blessing.] Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.”

14 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,” says the Lord Almighty, 15 “so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. 16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; 17 do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.

The Bible is filled with metaphors about growing things.  I wonder if the Bible was an inspiration for the unique initiative that John Wallach describes in Developmental Journal 1996.1.
He writes about the summer camp called Seeds of Peace which brings together Israeli and Arab children in an attempt to build friendship and communication for those who since birth have been taught to hate and mistrust one another.  These 13- to 15-year old teenagers from opposing sides of the Middle Eastern conflict get to know each other in a relaxed and supportive environment.  The intended harvest is to use the new friendships to foster communication, negotiation, and interchange so that they can better understand each other’s perspectives on the important issues that divide them.

Mr. Wallach believes Seeds of Peace takes up where governments leave off, attempting to fulfill the hope of peace treaties that are signed but that remain essentially pieces of paper.  Team building, communal living, and computer software which encourages them to keep in touch are part of the atmosphere of acceptance and understanding that ultimately permit the children to bond and become “seeds of peace” in their homelands. The bountiful harvest occurs when the emotional and moral power of children is harnessed to point the way for adults.

Lord, help me to take advantage of the opportunities you provide each day. Make me a sower of peace in my surroundings.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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