Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27 NRSV).
In the wake of the war in Iraq, and the subsequent scandal of prisoner abuse, we as a church call all people to prayer and repentance. We also call upon the current United States administration and Congress to acknowledge and take responsibility for our involvement and culpability and to join in this time of repentance.
Amid the present realities of war and violence, the Church of the Brethren calls upon its congregations and its members to be in steadfast prayer and petition. The death, wounds, and pain of war have touched us all. Iraqi lives, American lives, and those of the international community have been lost as a price of our violence against one another. The lands of a sacred and historical time have been scarred by our weapons of destruction. The lives and spirits of young men and women who have been assigned to fight this battle have been affected in ways we cannot yet fully realize. The inhumane abuses of person through body, mind, and spirit are images of this conflict we will never forget. War has been unleashed, and war has captured the worst within us.
Our deepest prayers of confession, our compassionate prayers of care, and our faithful prayers of hope are the strength we find in the realities of this day. We call upon the administration of our government and the leadership of nations in all places to join us in these prayers of confession, petition, and hope. Scripture continues to offer lessons for today, for all people: “Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and violence that is in their hands” (Jonah 3:7-9 NRSV).
Members of the Church of the Brethren continue to turn to the words of Christ for wisdom and direction. Our call as a church in this annual meeting is to love God and neighbor. This greatest commandment fits well as our response to the conflict of Iraq. With all our heart, soul, mind, and strength we must love our God, and we must love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:28). Our living witness to these words of Christ can bring places of comfort and peace in our local communities, and in our wider world, even in the midst of a time of such distrust and misunderstanding.
As we commit ourselves to love God and the people created by God’s hands, and in prayerful consideration of all things of war and violence, we the General Board, meeting in Charleston, West Virginia, July 5, 2004, call for members and congregations across our denomination to join in being a constant witness to Christ as a living peace church of today against all war and the violence of its nature.
Approved by the Church of the Brethren General Board, meeting in Charleston, W. Va., July 5, 2004.
A motion was made to present the resolution to Annual Conference for adoption. Passed
|Stanley J. Noffsinger, General Secretary||Donna Shumate, Chair|
The resolution was adopted.