September is international peace month culminating on the 21 September as international peace day. It is also the beginning of Spring in the Southern Hemisphere, a time for new beginnings and the welcoming of new life. Yet while September has just began it’s trek across our year’s journey we must bear in mind the events that have been a part of our year already. We must remember the 13 000 homes and subsequent lives that have been forever changed in Louisiana, US as hurricane Isaac made itself known. At the same time across the world in Syria, we weep and hear the fear of a nation caught up in violent upheaval. We listen to the groan of the ongoing fighting in Somalia and Sudan. While in South Africa we see the ghost of apartheid’s legacy rise up in the conflict at the Merikana mines (North West Province).
However interwoven in all these events and in many other stories of human tragedy and suffering are stories of human beings that rise above economic, racial and cultural divisions and act for the good, for life, for hope. I see this unfolding in my home South Africa as we try to make sense of the Merikana mine tragedy in which 30 protesting miners were shot dead when South African police fired with live ammunition into the protesting crowd. While tempers flared and accusations are thrown about the church in the presence of South African Council of Churches have been working behind the scenes in various efforts to mediate a settlement between all parties involved.
I would like to commend and remember the people that work in the midst of tragedy for good. Sometimes these people come in the guise of church leaders as in the above case of Merikana however more often they just simple stories of hope, in which ordinary people seek out and affirm the dignity of others. In this international peace month I invite all people who share a Methodist and Wesleyan ethos to remember these simple and yet extra ordinary stories in our communities, particularly of young people who bravely seek the greater good. Perhaps these stories will inspire us all to work for peace in some small way within whatever context we find ourselves. In conclusion I would like to draw our attention to the following quote:
“Despite all of the ghastliness in the world, human beings are made for goodness. The ones that are held in high regard are militarily powerful, nor even economically prosperous. They have a commitment to try and make the world a better place.” (Desmond Tutu)
Happy September friends and remember we are made for goodness.
Rev Lauren Matthew
World Methodist Council, Youth and Young Adult President