By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
There are so many things happening around the world. There is so much to talk and write about, so many that it has become very overwhelming. I don’t even know how to start.
All are happening at the same time, it’s just so difficult to process. The COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting so many lives in all nations; in fact here in South Korea, a second wave has begun. Then there’s the refusal of ABS–CBN’s franchise renewal that caused many Filipinos to be disheartened and lose a major source of information. Another event triggered the US to be shaken again, the unlawful death of George Floyd. And as this happens, the Filipino people are standing up against the Anti-Terrorism Bill passed by Congress.
Indeed, the first half of 2020 has been a very challenging season for everyone and it seems like it might take time to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The chaos is causing so many to be anxious, frustrated, disappointed and fearful. If there’s one thing that every heart desires right now, more than material things, fame and success and even healing, it’s PEACE that transcends understanding and cannot be moved despite all the shaking that’s been happening.
Now I understand the cliché answer of beauty pageant contestants when asked what they desire for the world, WORLD PEACE. We live in a world filled with conflict, hostility and strife that our heart longs for peace.
What is peace? According to Merriam-Webster, peace is freedom from public disturbance or war. Another meaning says, agreement and harmony among people. Given these definitions, is it possible to have peace at this time? People fight about political differences. There’s rivalry and strife between and among people of different colors and races. The last thing the world has is peace.
But I know of a different definition of peace and this is the one I believe. When I was young, I remember hearing from a pastor that peace is not the absence of conflict and strife, it is having joy and calmness in the midst of it.
True peace is finding refuge in the One who sees it all, knows it all and is in control overall. When I look at my children, they have peace and security because they know that their mom and dad are always there for them. The same goes for us, we can have peace if we know the Father who cares for us and is at work in the midst of it all.
But we are not only to receive peace; we are called to become peacemakers in this chaotic world. One person that comes to mind is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. According to one of the devotionals I read entitled Patterns for Peace, Dr. King was one of the most visible spokespersons of the civil rights movement during his time, but he was also a minister whose beliefs stirred him up to speak up for the disadvantaged, the oppressed, and victims of injustice. Even though his words were often strong, they were always marked by peace. Like him, we are called to be peacemakers. Peacemaking is never passive. We have to take the initiative. Peacemaking is not the avoidance of strife; it is always based on justice and righteousness. We are called to fight against injustice, prejudice and unrighteousness but we must do so with peace and not division as our motive. We must speak up for the oppressed and disadvantaged but our words should be marked with hope and peace. We must fight injustice with justice, hopelessness with hope, depression with joy, conflicts with peace. We are called to be peacemakers in a world where peace is not evident. We are not called to run from conflict and just wait for it to end, we have a part to play.
It is my prayer that 2020 will be remembered not for all the trials and tribulations that all of us have endured (and still enduring), but a year marked by peace despite all that we have faced (and are still facing). When this year ends and we will look back, it is my desire that we see ourselves remembering how we have overcome and how we have brought hope, joy and peace to the people around us. I pray for peace to be upon all of our hearts as we tread this challenging season. I pray that we become peacemakers through our words and our lives.