By Sister Sharon Havelak, OSF
You never know what to expect, standing on a street corner.
Last Sunday afternoon, four of us from the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition were standing on the corner of Monroe and Collingwood. Each Sunday, we gather at a different corner in the city, raising awareness for the need for peace. We’ve been at this since November 2001. Needless to say, the responses have been varied. But, I have to admit, I was caught off-guard by an incident that afternoon.
As we were standing near the corner, a car sped by close to the curb; a young man leaned out of the window and yelled, “War is good for the economy, stupid.”
Of course, the car sped off, offering no chance to engage in conversation. I’m not sure there would be much agreement, anyway. It is true that a few major corporations have profited – hugely – from the weapons industry, but I have a hard time believing that killing each other makes sense in anyone’s business plan.
That evening, as I prayed, I reflected on a different worldview proposed by theologian Elizabeth Johnson: “A flourishing humanity on a thriving Earth in an evolving universe, all together filled with the glory of God – such is the theological vision and praxis we are being called to in this critical age of Earth’s distress.” While she was offering an ecological perspective, I believe it also makes sense from the perspective of peacemaking.
Actually, it’s the message of the Gospel. It’s also the message repeated by Pope Francis in his environmental encyclical, Laudato Si’. God’s presence is visible and active in each of us, from the tiniest atom to the most massive galaxies and all of us in between. Our work, while we live on this planet, is to care for each other and to care for our Earth, knowing that our health and happiness and, if you will, our salvation is bound together.
Piece by piece, through small acts of love and courage, with faltering steps and timidly outstretched hands, we are called to reveal the presence of God in our world. Peace is good for us all.