God wages peace in and through Christ
(Eph 2:11-22; 4:1-3)
The church is the consequence of Christ’s ‘rampage of peace’, breaking down walls, and murdering hostility with his own death. Where he once ‘cleansed’ the temple in Jerusalem so that it might become again a place of prayer for all nations, his preaching and enacting peace, to the point of giving his life, has produced a new temple, a home for God made up of those once estranged from each other and God. The church is nothing other than the fruit of divine peacemaking.
The church wages peace wearing God’s armour
(Eph 6:10-20; Isaiah 59; 1 Thess 5:1-11)
Drawing on the biblical tradition of divine ‘warfare’ in response to violence and injustice, the body of Christ is summoned to ‘put on the armour of God’, struggling against the ‘powers’ with truth, justice, peace, and liberation. The church is the instrument of divine peacemaking.
What are the implications of this vision of peace? Is such violent imagery fitting to depict the struggle for peace? Central features of the Anabaptist vision of the Christian life will emerge: participating in Jesus’ messianic vocation of bringing peace, reconciling humanity with each other and with God, doing so communally as the body of Christ, witnessing to and struggling for such a comprehensive peace.
Tom & Rebecca Yoder Neufeld, Canadian Mennonites in the UK as guests of the Anabaptist Network and the Mennonite Trust, will be speaking.
Tom retired at the end of 2012 from teaching at Conrad Grebel University College, Toronto. Previously he served as a hospital and prison chaplain and as a pastor in small Mennonite congregations. Among his writings are a commentary on Ephesians, a text book on Jesus, Recovering Jesus: the Witness of the New Testament, and a book exploring the way violence intersects with the New Testament, Jesus and the Subversion of Violence: Wrestling with the New Testament.
Rebecca has spent much of her adult lifetime working with Latin American refugees and immigrants in the U.S. and Canada in the areas of settlement assistance, advocacy, and education. She pastored the Latin American refugee community within her Mennonite congregation, where she is currently a lay leader. At an earlier time she exercised leadership roles in a student house church and a small congregation she and Tom helped start. She has also worked to strengthen ties internationally in the church, promoting congregational relationships and organizing interpretation at global gatherings.
Further information from Barney Barron: email@example.com.