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Tuesday September 19th 2017

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Is Peace Even Possible?

BY PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL

I am writing this on the day that President Trump unveiled his proposed budget, the farthest thing from a “peace budget” that I can remember. It proposes a 10% boost in military spending, even though the U.S. spends more than the next 8 countries combined, and has been involved in more wars since World War II. (And let us ask ourselves as a people, why is every country that we have invaded since WW II been much smaller and poorer than ourselves.) It drastically cuts those things that make for peace: the arts, climate science, foreign aid—even Meals on Wheels. It seems we are regressing further and further away from real peace.

But I am also writing this while listening to Mahalia Jackson. She sings to me: “It is well; it is well with my soul.” It’s not a call of resignation, but a call of faith and hope in the midst of struggle. And we so need that today. Peace is not just the absence of war or violence, but the creation of a society where all enjoy the fruits of the earth; where all have adequate food, water, culture, shelter, security, health care and respect. In Hebrew, the word is Shalom; in Arabic, Salaam. But it means the same thing: a healed world that provides wholeness.

Peace is also walking in that vision of wholeness. I admit it has been challenging for me to maintain a peaceful heart since the past election season. Such hostility—towards immigrants, the poor, refugees, women, LGBT people, Latinos, and so many more. Rhetoric, from all sides, that doesn’t even pretend to care about reconciliation. And now, concrete actions that threaten the fabric of Phillips, our nation and our planet.

At St. Paul’s Lutheran, we have renewed our commitment to living in peace as we help create peace. Starting this spring, we will be building a Peace Garden on the south side of the building, which is something of a mini-climate. We invite you to share your thoughts on what you would like to see: art, fruit trees, places for rest and reflection, herb or vegetable gardens or other ideas. You can e-mail us at stpaulscreate@gmail.com or come to two community input sessions: April 26 @ 7 pm and May 10 @ 7 pm. There will be healthy treats at both events.

And we invite you to join with us at our annual Palm Sunday Procession for Peace, Sunday April 9 at 12 noon. We start at St. Paul’s, 2742 15th Ave S. and process through the community, stopping to pray at various sites: for our children, the earth, immigrants, for safety and workers and families. Lunch afterward.

Maybe peace is impossible. But it is not unthinkable. And it surely is worth working for and living for.

“Peace if possible, Justice at any rate”….Wendell Phillips

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