Editorial Hero Image for the PAX StoryArc, Motion, Issue 01: Cosmic Peace
Link copied
to clipboard
by Danny Canales
MOTION STATEMENT

We can participate in everyday peacemaking as we pursue cosmic peace together.

3 Postures of Everyday Peacemakers

Michelle Ami Reyes

Michelle Reyes (PhD) is the Co-Executive Director of Pax and the Vice President of the Asian American Christian Collaborative. She is also the Scholar-in-Residence at Hope Community Church, a minority-led multicultural church in East Austin, Texas, where her husband, Aaron, serves as lead pastor. Michelle's work on faith and culture has been featured in Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, Missio Alliance, Faithfully Magazine and more. Her forthcoming book on cross-cultural relationships is called Becoming All Things: How Small Changes Lead to Lasting Connections Across Cultures (Zondervan; April 27, 2021). Follow Michelle on Twitter and Instagram.

“What does it mean to be an everyday peacemaker?” This is a question I think about regularly. I am passionate about justice and prophetically calling out racism. I’ve never liked bullies and have this innate urge to stand up to them in protection of those they oppress. I’m not afraid of staring evil in the face. It’s probably why biblical narrative and the lives of the prophets resonate so personally for me. But I often wonder how my passions and pursuits dovetail with peace. Is it possible to fight against systemic injustice and be a peacemaker? Does the pursuit of peace mean I can’t challenge the status quo and the realities that marginalize and oppress people of color? 

In the gospels, Jesus climbs a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee and says to a waiting crowd, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). Peace, according to Jesus here, is not some superficial notion of “everyone’s just gotta love each other.” Rather, it’s about seeing pain and brokenness in us and around us and still choosing to lean in, tend to, and seek healing, so that we can once again flourish. Jesus himself is called “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), and he invites his followers to follow in his example by becoming peacemakers -- an embodied reality that requires us to give ourselves fully to the holistic restoration of all things. This doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to call out the sins of the world and stand up against injustice. It just means that being an everyday peacemaker requires us to also take on a posture of calling in. Instead of raising everything to the ground, we have a commitment to working to reconcile people with God and with each other. In other words: everyday peacemaking is about following the life and example of Jesus and working toward restoration in our own lives and the world around us. 

This requires three fundamental postures - repent, repair, and remain. In my own journey of becoming an everyday peacemaker, I am learning how to embrace and embody these postures, and I want to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way: 


Repent

Everyday peacemaking begins with repentance. Because the more I seek to live out in peace, the more aware I become to my own violence. I’m not always kind to people. I’m not as patient as I should be. I’ve said things to my kids that I regret. When people insult me, I want to insult back. And this is fundamentally a heart issue. Every unkind word and action against my fellow human is a reflection of the darkness within me. They are the manifestation of sinful thoughts and attitudes I’ve left unchecked, now inflicting real damage, not just to my own personhood, but also the people around me. If I do not plead for the Holy Spirit to convict me of this sin and to move my consciousness toward the pursuit of holiness, inside and out, peacemaking will be a lofty, but unattainable goal.

Scripture challenges me to live at peace with all people (Romans 12:18; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14), and this requires both a new step forward and a confrontation with my past. I need to confess my own anger, my lack of control with my words, my unkindness to others - first to God and then to the person I’ve injured - before I can truly pave a new path. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had to go back to and say, “I care about you and I’m sorry for what I said. Will you forgive me?” With my husband and children, this is often a daily practice. This is the first step for everyday peacemakers. We must be humble and know when to apologize because we are not always in the right.


Repair

Second, everyday peacemakers care about broken relationships. And, listen, I’m here to tell you that despite the pain that’s been inflicted on you, despite what that other person did or said, healing is still possible. Jesus has made that possible. For so many years, I carried a deep wound from a person, who had caused horrible pain in my life. The evil done against me was all I could think about, and I cared about little else than trying to expose this person and achieving (punitive) justice. It was paralyzing, consuming my thoughts and keeping me in a state of continual emotional exhaustion. Those were some of the darkest years of my life. But, it’s because of Jesus, that I’ve been able to find peace. No, the person never apologized to me, and the situation remains largely unresolved, but I learned to forgive and allow God to wash a healing balm over my heart and soul.

In her Shalom Sistas Manifesto, Osheta Moore describes everyday peacemakers as “creative allies, nurturing comforters, and safe harbors for the weary in our communities,” who “look past the pain in order to see the person, in order to restore their humanity, in order to tell better stories about them— redemptive stories, nuanced stories, empathetic stories.” Part of what allowed me to seek forgiveness and restoration of that relationship was seeing the image of God in the other person (Genesis 1:26-27). I humanized them, finally saw the pain in their own life, and I learned about the ways that hurting people end up hurting others. It’s not an excuse for their actions, but it helped me have a deeper understanding, and this shift in views empowered me to choose love, even when the other person did not.

The same is true for broken systems. When a community is set ablaze by police brutality and national protests, or when churches are torn apart by theological differences, everyday peacemakers prioritize healing and a desire to rectify the situation. This too is part of our ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). We must hold to a holistic view of peace that can see the pains in interpersonal relationships as well as societal injustice and actively seek restoration in both by pointing to Christ. It’s not an either/or, but rather a both/and. We call out the problems, but we also work toward solutions and build better systems that honor God and further his kingdom.


Remain

Finally, I’ve learned that peacemaking is a commitment for the long haul. Many times, our approach to the problems in the world is to diagnose, solve, and then walk away. The problem with this approach, however, is that it keeps us in the posture of a hero; and it keeps us in the place of power. Choosing to remain, on the other hand, and to see things through over years’ time, requires us to be faithful and patient. There’s no quick fixes or fast solutions to real and lasting peace. Rather, peacemakers know how to linger, how to invest, and how to accept real cost (1 Peter 3:11).

I can’t just post an interesting graphic on social media or attend a meeting on racism and think that’s enough. Everyday peacemaking is an ongoing process that’s gritty, subversive, relational, practical, and creative. It’s a lifestyle, not an elective, that believes in real, yet slow transformation of both people and structures. It’s not enough to just apologize to someone, but then never talk to them afterward. It’s not enough to call out racist rhetoric, or seek to remove a toxic leader from power. You have to be there to also teach what loving, biblical language looks like, what servant leadership is, and how to cultivate healthy environments for all people to flourish. 

These types of things don’t happen overnight, which is why peacemaking has to be a central discipleship component of following Jesus. Our theology should fuel rather than restrict our pursuit of peacemaking and renewal. And, if we’re truly committed to this, we should begin to see the ways in which our lives begin to transform over time as well. 

Each and every one of us can participate in everyday peacemaking. We can do this as we pursue cosmic peace - peace with God, with ourselves, and with others - because God has made this possible. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Will you answer his call to be one who contends for the holistic repair of relationships in the everyday contexts of our lives? Will you choose to repent, repair, and remain?

3 Questions for Everyday Peacemakers:

  1. What do you need to confess to God in prayer today? Is there anyone you need to apologize to?
  2. What relational bridges can you start building right now? In what ways can you help build better systems and seek solutions to the pains in our society?
  3. What is one tangible way that you can commit to faithful peacemaking? What is one way for you to linger with someone or some issue in our society to ensure everyone involved gets healthy and stays healthy?

“What does it mean to be an everyday peacemaker?” This is a question I think about regularly. I am passionate about justice and prophetically calling out racism. I’ve never liked bullies and have this innate urge to stand up to them in protection of those they oppress. I’m not afraid of staring evil in the face. It’s probably why biblical narrative and the lives of the prophets resonate so personally for me. But I often wonder how my passions and pursuits dovetail with peace. Is it possible to fight against systemic injustice and be a peacemaker? Does the pursuit of peace mean I can’t challenge the status quo and the realities that marginalize and oppress people of color? 

In the gospels, Jesus climbs a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee and says to a waiting crowd, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). Peace, according to Jesus here, is not some superficial notion of “everyone’s just gotta love each other.” Rather, it’s about seeing pain and brokenness in us and around us and still choosing to lean in, tend to, and seek healing, so that we can once again flourish. Jesus himself is called “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), and he invites his followers to follow in his example by becoming peacemakers -- an embodied reality that requires us to give ourselves fully to the holistic restoration of all things. This doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to call out the sins of the world and stand up against injustice. It just means that being an everyday peacemaker requires us to also take on a posture of calling in. Instead of raising everything to the ground, we have a commitment to working to reconcile people with God and with each other. In other words: everyday peacemaking is about following the life and example of Jesus and working toward restoration in our own lives and the world around us. 

This requires three fundamental postures - repent, repair, and remain. In my own journey of becoming an everyday peacemaker, I am learning how to embrace and embody these postures, and I want to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way: 

Everyday peacemaking is about following the life and example of Jesus and working toward restoration in our own lives and the world around us.


Repent

Everyday peacemaking begins with repentance. Because the more I seek to live out in peace, the more aware I become to my own violence. I’m not always kind to people. I’m not as patient as I should be. I’ve said things to my kids that I regret. When people insult me, I want to insult back. And this is fundamentally a heart issue. Every unkind word and action against my fellow human is a reflection of the darkness within me. They are the manifestation of sinful thoughts and attitudes I’ve left unchecked, now inflicting real damage, not just to my own personhood, but also the people around me. If I do not plead for the Holy Spirit to convict me of this sin and to move my consciousness toward the pursuit of holiness, inside and out, peacemaking will be a lofty, but unattainable goal.

Scripture challenges me to live at peace with all people (Romans 12:18; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14), and this requires both a new step forward and a confrontation with my past. I need to confess my own anger, my lack of control with my words, my unkindness to others - first to God and then to the person I’ve injured - before I can truly pave a new path. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had to go back to and say, “I care about you and I’m sorry for what I said. Will you forgive me?” With my husband and children, this is often a daily practice. This is the first step for everyday peacemakers. We must be humble and know when to apologize because we are not always in the right.

We must be humble and know when to apologize because we are not always in the right.

Repair

Second, everyday peacemakers care about broken relationships. And, listen, I’m here to tell you that despite the pain that’s been inflicted on you, despite what that other person did or said, healing is still possible. Jesus has made that possible. For so many years, I carried a deep wound from a person, who had caused horrible pain in my life. The evil done against me was all I could think about, and I cared about little else than trying to expose this person and achieving (punitive) justice. It was paralyzing, consuming my thoughts and keeping me in a state of continual emotional exhaustion. Those were some of the darkest years of my life. But, it’s because of Jesus, that I’ve been able to find peace. No, the person never apologized to me, and the situation remains largely unresolved, but I learned to forgive and allow God to wash a healing balm over my heart and soul.

In her Shalom Sistas Manifesto, Osheta Moore describes everyday peacemakers as “creative allies, nurturing comforters, and safe harbors for the weary in our communities,” who “look past the pain in order to see the person, in order to restore their humanity, in order to tell better stories about them— redemptive stories, nuanced stories, empathetic stories.” Part of what allowed me to seek forgiveness and restoration of that relationship was seeing the image of God in the other person (Genesis 1:26-27). I humanized them, finally saw the pain in their own life, and I learned about the ways that hurting people end up hurting others. It’s not an excuse for their actions, but it helped me have a deeper understanding, and this shift in views empowered me to choose love, even when the other person did not.

The same is true for broken systems. When a community is set ablaze by police brutality and national protests, or when churches are torn apart by theological differences, everyday peacemakers prioritize healing and a desire to rectify the situation. This too is part of our ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). We must hold to a holistic view of peace that can see the pains in interpersonal relationships as well as societal injustice and actively seek restoration in both by pointing to Christ. It’s not an either/or, but rather a both/and. We call out the problems, but we also work toward solutions and build better systems that honor God and further his kingdom.



Everyday peacemakers prioritize healing and a desire to rectify the situation

Remain

Finally, I’ve learned that peacemaking is a commitment for the long haul. Many times, our approach to the problems in the world is to diagnose, solve, and then walk away. The problem with this approach, however, is that it keeps us in the posture of a hero; and it keeps us in the place of power. Choosing to remain, on the other hand, and to see things through over years’ time, requires us to be faithful and patient. There’s no quick fixes or fast solutions to real and lasting peace. Rather, peacemakers know how to linger, how to invest, and how to accept real cost (1 Peter 3:11).

I can’t just post an interesting graphic on social media or attend a meeting on racism and think that’s enough. Everyday peacemaking is an ongoing process that’s gritty, subversive, relational, practical, and creative. It’s a lifestyle, not an elective, that believes in real, yet slow transformation of both people and structures. It’s not enough to just apologize to someone, but then never talk to them afterward. It’s not enough to call out racist rhetoric, or seek to remove a toxic leader from power. You have to be there to also teach what loving, biblical language looks like, what servant leadership is, and how to cultivate healthy environments for all people to flourish. 

These types of things don’t happen overnight, which is why peacemaking has to be a central discipleship component of following Jesus. Our theology should fuel rather than restrict our pursuit of peacemaking and renewal. And, if we’re truly committed to this, we should begin to see the ways in which our lives begin to transform over time as well. 

Each and every one of us can participate in everyday peacemaking. We can do this as we pursue cosmic peace - peace with God, with ourselves, and with others - because God has made this possible. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Will you answer his call to be one who contends for the holistic repair of relationships in the everyday contexts of our lives? Will you choose to repent, repair, and remain?

3 Questions for Everyday Peacemakers:

  1. What do you need to confess to God in prayer today? Is there anyone you need to apologize to?
  2. What relational bridges can you start building right now? In what ways can you help build better systems and seek solutions to the pains in our society?
  3. What is one tangible way that you can commit to faithful peacemaking? What is one way for you to linger with someone or some issue in our society to ensure everyone involved gets healthy and stays healthy?

Everyday peacemaking is about following the life and example of Jesus and working toward restoration in our own lives and the world around us.
We must be humble and know when to apologize because we are not always in the right.
Everyday peacemakers prioritize healing and a desire to rectify the situation
Link copied
to clipboard

Voices of Pax

Quick Intro from Host
Michelle Ami Reyes

Michelle Reyes (PhD) is the Co-Executive Director of Pax and the Vice President of the Asian American Christian Collaborative. She is also the Scholar-in-Residence at Hope Community Church, a minority-led multicultural church in East Austin, Texas, where her husband, Aaron, serves as lead pastor. Michelle's work on faith and culture has been featured in Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, Missio Alliance, Faithfully Magazine and more. Her forthcoming book on cross-cultural relationships is called Becoming All Things: How Small Changes Lead to Lasting Connections Across Cultures (Zondervan; April 27, 2021). Follow Michelle on Twitter and Instagram.

0:00
0:00

Unsettling
Truths

WITH
Mark Charles

Mark Charles is a dynamic and thought-provoking public speaker, writer, and consultant. The son of an American woman (of Dutch heritage) and a Navajo man, he teaches with insight into the complexities of American history regarding race, culture, and faith in order to help forge a path of healing and conciliation for the nation. He is one of the leading authorities on the 15th-century’s Doctrine of Discovery and its influence on US history and its intersection with modern-day society. Mark co-authored, along with Soong-Chan Rah, the new book entitled “Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery” (IVP, 2019). Mark is also an independent candidate for the US Presidency in the 2020 election.

0:00
0:00

Bread for the Resistance

WITH
Donna Barber

Donna Barber, a native Philadelphian, has served as an educator, trainer and coach for urban youth and urban youth program leaders for more than 25 years. In Philadelphia and Atlanta, she worked to create and lead schools and programs that develop urban children to be spirit-led, socially aware, community-minded leaders. Donna, also a licensed minister, has served with local churches, private and public schools and local non-profits. She holds degrees in Communications and Urban Teacher Leadership and has provided trainings and coaching for national organizations, including Mission Year, CCDA, DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative, Portland Leadership Foundation and several colleges and universities. Presently, Ms. Barber serves as Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Voices Project, a national network that exists for the training and promotion of leaders of color. Donna is the first African American to be elected to the David Douglas School Board, in Portland, Oregon, a member of the district and Regional School Board Equity Teams, and a published author. Her book, Bread for the Resistance: 40 Devotions for Justice People, was released in 2019 by IVPress. She currently resides in Portland with her husband, author, speaker, and Voices E.D., Leroy Barber, and together they have six children.

0:00
0:00

Gates of
Justice

WITH
Raymond Chang

Pastor Raymond Chang is the president of AACC, a pastor, and writer. He regularly preaches God’s Word and speaks throughout the country on issues pertaining to Christianity and culture, race, and faith. He has lived throughout the world (Korea, Guatemala, Panama, Spain, China), traveled to over 50 countries throughout the world, and currently lives in Chicagoland, serving as a campus minister at Wheaton College. Prior to entering vocational ministry, Ray worked in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and served in the Peace Corps in Panama. He is currently pursuing his PhD. He is married to Jessica Chang, who serves as the chief advancement and partnerships officer of the Field School.

0:00
0:00

At Pax, we commit to listen, learn, and live as everyday peacemakers. We hope that you will journey with us, and we’ve crafted three reflection questions based on our audio interviews for you to participate in listening, learning, and living out the calling of being peacemakers in your own life. This is something you could do one your own or as part of a group discussion.

Listen:
1. What is one thing about cosmic peace that you heard from each interview that really resonated with you?

Learn:
2. What is one new idea that you learned from each interview about how to promote the peace of Jesus today?

Live:
3. What is one new practice that you can incorporate into your own life to pursue peace with God, peace with yourself, and peace with others?

Link copied
to clipboard

Pax StoryArc
Motion Resources

Thank you for journeying with us on this pathway of cosmic peace. Before you leave, check out these additional resources curated by the Pax team to equip and empower you into an everyday peacemaker. Each resource is designed around the practices of listen, learn and live. Our desire is for you to take these prayers, spiritual practices, and conversations with you as you begin living as peacemakers in the word on the slow and steady journey ahead.
E-BOOK

Tethered

21 Prayers of Pax for and by Gen Zers of Color
Details

Tethered is a collection of 21 prayers seeking to find our peace in a world where we often feel adrift. From the mestizo poet to the Korean prayer warrior, the Latina mother and many other beautiful cultural expressions of the Body of Christ, these prayers breathe hope over those of us that feel lost. Pax Spiritual Director, Osheta Moore, helps frame this experience as we give ourselves to the words and prayers of the next generation. Download this free e-book and spend the next 21 days looking up, looking in and looking out for Pax.

Tethered is a collection of 21 prayers seeking to find our peace in a world where we often feel adrift. From the mestizo poet to the Korean prayer warrior, the Latina mother and many other beautiful cultural expressions of the Body of Christ, these prayers breathe hope over those of us that feel lost. Pax Spiritual Director, Osheta Moore, helps frame this experience as we give ourselves to the words and prayers of the next generation. Download this free e-book and spend the next 21 days looking up, looking in and looking out for Pax.

Listen
Order
Download
GUIDE

A Breath of Pax

A Jesus-centered meditation for peace
Details

Breath Prayers have been practiced throughout church history. A Breath of Pax is an experience designed to help draw you near to God. This simple prayer with few words, spoken from the heart in the natural rhythm of inhaling and exhaling is especially helpful when life seems uncertain, out of control, and when anxiety is high. Download this free resource and breathe in Pax.

Breath Prayers have been practiced throughout church history. A Breath of Pax is an experience designed to help draw you near to God. This simple prayer with few words, spoken from the heart in the natural rhythm of inhaling and exhaling is especially helpful when life seems uncertain, out of control, and when anxiety is high. Download this free resource and breathe in Pax.

Listen
Order
Download
Link copied
to clipboard

A Gen Z case study on Cosmic Peace
Featuring Tyson Moore

Pax Spiritual Director, Osheta Moore, sits down with her bi-racial 17-year-old son, Tyson Moore, in the middle of a global pandemic, and while living in the Twin Cities, Minnesota in the midst of America’s racial unrest to talk through the Pax StoryArc. Together, in this 4-part audio experience, they discuss and process ideas of Cosmic Peace and peacemaking. 

Osheta Moore

Osheta Moore, PAX's Spiritual Director, is a podcaster, blogger, and everyday peacemaker. She serves as Outreach and Teaching Pastor at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota and Community Life Pastor at Roots Covenant. Osheta is the author of Shalom Sistas: Living Wholeheartedly in a Brokenhearted World (Herald, 2017) and Dear White Peacemakers: Dismantling Racism with Grit and Grace (Herald, forthcoming).

Music provided by Caleb Tucker

Introduction

Episode 01
0:00
0:00

Cosmic Shalom

Episode 02
0:00
0:00

Trauma

Episode 03
0:00
0:00

Listening

EPISODE 04
0:00
0:00
Link copied
to clipboard
EXIT STORYARC
<   MATERIAL