105 Ways to Show Peace

560894_10152092575480291_390915746_n Three years ago, my church did something radical.  They all got together, made a cardboard house and asked members of the congregation to glue on index cards with ideas of how to build peace in our neighbourhood and in our world.  Peace and social justice have long been the cornerstones of the Mennonite church.  Rooted on Christ’s example of non-violence we believe that Christ is calling us to engage in building the Kingdom of God not through violence but through our love.  In honour of International Day to Pray for Peace, I have included 105 ways that individuals and congregations can work together for a more peaceful world.  Some of these may be easier to achieve than others, but all are practical.  Please add more ideas in the comments section.

1) Bake a pie (or cookies) to bring to your neighbours

2) Pray for the peace of Jerusalem

3) Do a random act of kindness

4) Choose to forgive (make it an intentional decision)

5) Choose to listen first and speak second

6) Spend a day not being judgmental

7) Make a friend with someone of a different religion (without trying to convert them)

8) Get to know your neighbours over coffee (or tea)

9) Stay after church to get to know other congregants

11) Write petitions to Members of Parliament

12) Get involved with inter-denominational and inter-faith events

13) Read the writings of Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela

14) Choose to pray for those who have hurt you (recognizing their brokenness)

15) Challenge your own stereotypes

16) Stand up for the marginalized

17) Challenge others when you hear them slighting minority groups

18) Walk a labyrinth

19) Make a collage of images and sayings of peace

20) Protest!

21) Write out Bible verses (and verses from other Holy Books) about peace

22) Give money to a homeless person

23) Read the news

24) Do a research project or write an essay on a major peace studies topic

25) Take a peace studies course

26) Make a friend with a developmental disability

27) Start caring more about the environment

28) Organize a Sunday school class on a peace studies topic

29) Recognize when things are a “violation of Shalom” (A phrase employed by Justin and Lindsay Holcomb)

30) Be discontent being comfortable

31) Spend a day with the elderly

32) Choose to walk, bike, or take public transit rather than driving

33) Buy the Peace and Justice Bible

34) Get to know Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC’s) vision and mission (http://mcc.org/)

35) Start a social justice movement or club on your university’s campus

36) Attend a peace lecture

37) Participate in International Day to Pray for Peace (Sept. 21st) – Get your family, school, or church to do likewise

38) Spend a day fasting and praying for the members of the persecuted church and for countries where there is much war and violence

39) Pray for individuals seeking divorce, in family conflict, or in abusive relationships

40) Wear a “To Remember is to Work for Peace” button or a white poppy (along with the red poppy) during the month of November

41) Get to know and support Conscience Canada (http://www.consciencecanada.ca/)

42) Buy fair trade items

43) Plant a peace pole in your backyard or at your church

44) Plant a tree

45) Start a community garden

46) Join a Peace Delegation with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) (http://www.cpt.org/)

47) Memorize Micah 6:8: He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Micah+6%3A8&version=NIV)

48) Subscribe to a peace magazine (eg. Peacesigns)

49) Volunteer!

50) Challenge the messages social media gives you

51) Give things you don’t really need away

52) Put peace sayings/quotes on your Facebook and Twitter feeds

53) Read books to a young child

54) Volunteer to do a job at your church that isn’t glamorous and/or is often overlooked

55) Say please and thank you

56) Hold the door open for someone

57) Sing praise and worship songs at the top of your lungs

58) Learn another langauge

59) Become friends with a recent immigrant

60) Sponsor a child

61) Get your church to sponsor a missionary

62) Take a stand against the death penalty

63) Take a stand against abortion (but also respect woman who have made this decision and be sensitive to them)

64) Read (or re-read) literary classics that deal with issues of racism, sexism, or classism

65) Organize a homeless food run

66) Use artistic expressions to promote a message of peace

67) Stand up against bullying

68) Welcome newcomers at your church

69) Plan a group service project day

70) Challenge the notion that sometimes violence is necessary (read What Would You Do By: John Howard Yoder or What About Hitler By: Robert Brimlow)

71) Start a daily prayer practice/spiritual discipline

72) Visit a local jail

73) Take the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) (http://idiinventory.com/)

74) Refuse to see violence/war as something far removed from yourself

75) Encourage your child to get rid of violent video games

76) Spend a day with your kids outdoors rather than indoors playing on the computer or watching TV

77) Monitor the types of TV programs your children watch

78) Plan a family activity or outling

79) Become friends with a gay, lesbian, transgendered, or bi-sexual person without trying to change them

80) Set a good example to the younger generation of what peace looks like

82) Write an article on a peace related theme for a magazine, newspaper editorial, or on a personal blog

83) Write letters to those who have offended you offering forgiveness to them and then burn them or give them over to God in a prayer

84) Say “I’m sorry”

85) Admit when you are wrong

86) Admit when you don’t understand something and ask for further clarification

87) Go to community events

88) Partake in a Taize service

89) Go on a pilgrimage

90) Read the holy book of a different religion (eg. the Qur’an)

91) Write an encouraging note to someone who you think needs to be cheered up

92) Visit shut-ins who couldn’t make it to church

93) Wear shirts or buttons that have peace messages on them

94) Celebrate festivals that are not of your tradition

95) Spend a day talking with a war vet and be sensitive to them

96) Teach your sons how to treat a woman with respect

97) Attend an AA meeting with an open mind

98) Remember that you CAN make a difference (even if you are old or young or you have a disability)

99) Find a “Peace Mentor”

100) Make sure your church library has a variety of good peace books and resources

101) Read books that draw your awareness to modern day persecution (eg. Voice of the Martyrs)

102) Travel to a different country, not for tourism, but to see firsthand how life is lived

103) Hug a tree

104) Go on a prayer walk around your community/neighbourhood

105) Challenge your own sense of entitlement

With just a little effort, we can go a long way in bringing peace to our world.  Drop me a line to let me know what you think or share your success stories about putting peace in action!  Tweet your favourite ideas at: @zwiebachandpeace #Peace 561150_10152111655840291_352515245_n

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