Sunday, November 23, 2014, began for me at 6:00 a.m. when I listened to Krista Tippit’s interview with Reza Aslan about the reformation of Islam, followed by a stimulating lesson on the natural evolution of armaments among insects and animals. Scientists “know” that opposing sides sometimes
agree on a “cease fire,” but they do not know how the creatures negotiate it. The program ended with some clues to how a ceasefire can happen among humans, beginning with the church.
At church the sermon was based on the story of the ten lepers healed by Jesus, and only one who was a Samaritan remembered, stopped and returned to Jesus to give thanks. We were encouraged to remember with thanksgiving through a communion service.
Part of the ritual declared that there are “no divisions” at this table. This obese and balding Old Fool stopped, remembered who he was and gave thanks that he was not excluded from the table. Then My Joy and I went to a nearby cafe to share a meal of baby beef liver fried with onions.
From there we went to Bethany Christian School to see a student production of Dicken’s classic, A Christmas Carol. The carol tells the story of a rich, stingy old man who is transformed into a man moved with compassion for the poor and disabled. The tale was brought to life by the amazing energy of students displayed for 90 minutes singing, dancing and acting without intermission on stage.
After the play at Bethany, My Joy and I rested for an hour and then went to The New Perspectives on Faith at College Mennonite Church. The speaker of the evening was John Paul Lederach, the son of John and Naomi Lederach who are members of CMC and widely known in the Mennonite Church.
Their son John Paul is Professor of International Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, and concurrently Distinguished Scholar at Eastern Mennonite University. He has written widely on conflict resolution and mediation.
An audio version of Lederach’s speech will be posted with other speeches on the New Perspectives website. Lederach’s speech was enriched by the pictures and stories of little known peace-makers.
His speech centered on the need for compassion toward all. He urged such simple acts as inviting one with whom we disagree to have coffee or lunch together. Regular coffee drinking should continue, not until there is agreement, but until the two who disagree become friends.
Here is a link to an interview in which John Paul introduces himself. The interview will make the speech on The New Perspectives website more enjoyable when you hear it.
Thought after Sunday: If insects and animals negotiate temporary ceasefires, why cannot we who have larger brains and the ability to talk, negotiate a permanent cease fire?