The Good Steward —
Peace, God’s gift, our responsibility

Daniel Conway

The peace of Christ (pax Christi) is both an unmerited gift and a grave responsibility that we who are disciples of the risen Lord are called to steward and defend. This gift is difficult to defend in a society that permits, even encourages, violence. The deliberate killing of millions of unborn children, senseless slaughter of school children, murder and chaos in our city streets and the madness of wars that destroy innocent civilians and wreak destruction on whole cities are the devil’s handiwork. That is certainly not good stewardship.

As a gift, the moral blueprint for peace has been written by God into human nature. In the Incarnation of God’s Son, the seed of peace was planted in human history. In the giving of the Holy Spirit, the desire for peace is constantly renewed.

But these gifts, which provide the foundation for building a culture of peace, are also given to us as a serious moral obligation. If we do not cultivate these gifts, then our relationships — with God and each other — will rot and decay and become for us a source of great pain. Then, as we know all too well, peace can only be restored through drastic and costly measures, if at all.

The peace of Christ has been given to us as a gift and a responsibility. There is no room for negotiation. Religious, political and civic leaders are called to be the guardians (stewards) of this great gift. Either they stand firm against all forms of violence, or they betray their solemn duty to protect and defend human life and build communities of peace and justice.

If we desire peace we must be willing to work for it. And if we are willing to work for peace that means we must be willing, first and foremost, to pray for peace.

Of course, prayer must be accompanied by action. We must make difficult, courageous decisions — to change our laws so that abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty are outlawed; so that gun ownership is carefully regulated and certain weapons are banned; so that our schools, businesses and civic institutions are protected against rampant violence and destruction; and so that the horrors of war are never again permitted to utterly destroy nations and peoples. The serious responsibility we have been given as stewards of the peace of Christ demands that we pray fervently and act decisively. Woe to us — citizens of a nation founded on liberty and justice for all — if we fail in our sacred duty to build communities of peace and justice that welcome and protect all our sisters and brothers at every stage of their lives.

Let’s put an end to the ceaseless, self-justifying talk that makes the debates surrounding these issues so unproductive. Instead, let’s pray seriously and act decisively for real changes that will protect all human life from the insane violence we are experiencing today. Let’s accept our God-given responsibility to be good stewards of the gift of peace.

Dan Conway is a member of Holy Trinity Church, serves as a member of The Record’s editorial board and is a writer, consultant and stewardship educator.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *