As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.
Here the Gospel of Luke shares with us just one of the many examples of Jesus choosing peace in the face of opposition. When using incredible power and force against the Samaritans made sense to James and John, Jesus rebuked James and John and radically walked away from the village, instead. We know Jesus as peacemaker because the Gospels share this radical side of Jesus with us.
In solidarity with the bishops of the United Methodist Church and the thousands who have already signed their statement for peace, I pray that we call our government into living what we know through this person called Jesus. I pray that we radically call for peace and work towards peace instead of continuing in a horrific war that has cost the lives of more than 2,000 brave U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens.
In his address Sunday, President Bush pleaded to the people of the U.S.: "I do not expect you to support everything I do, but tonight I have a request," the president said. "Do not give in to despair, and do not give up on this fight for freedom."
We are Easter people who know a different story of freedom through the radical peace of Jesus!
I do not have answers on how we can pull out of Iraq now. I know, however, that we have to challenge our leaders to be in the business of peace-planning because war-planning is not the way. If you'd like to join in solidarity with the bishops and ask our leaders to think of another way, please visit their statement and sign it.