This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Can we believe ‘peace on earth’?

In these days when the world sings—and wishes “Peace on Earth”—we should practice it. However, we continue to experience a racial hatred that makes the opposite painfully obvious.

The injustices committed speak stridently of this reality. Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., is the case these days; Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, recently; Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., only two years ago, and we can trace back our history to find hundreds more similar cases.

We are experiencing peaceful protests and some citizen uprisings in various parts of the country, but, unfortunately, they often become violent demonstrations because of the frustration of those who have been mistreated, and by those harboring feelings of revenge. This is in no way justifiable.

The sad situation is that the perpetrators of repression and violence are precisely those responsible for protecting law-abiding citizens, preserving order, and ensuring peace and justice.

There is nothing new under the sun. Read Ecclesiastes. The enslaving demon of power, racial malice and the fear of losing control, have always led rulers and their empires to become tyrants.

The so-called justice of today is acquired with money and the culprits are declared innocent. Meanwhile, the media and the entertainment world, tools of commerce and trade, overwhelm us with offers that seek to make us believe that we need to purchase and participate in everything they have to offer.

Black Friday, Local Saturday, Cyber Monday, Tuesday’s special offers, and so on, are the alluring invitations for us to spend money we don’t have.

While they use Christmas music, peace slogans and goodwill wishes, their money is amassed, and the poor are once again used as they soak in the theatrics of misguided celebrations.

The fact that those who represent law and order work within blatantly racist patterns and are at the service of those who manage the prevailing power is dehumanizing. The truth is that, when there is money and power at stake, human beings are the most inhumane and bloody-thirsty creatures in existence.

We live in the midst of a world of wickedness and deceit, constantly thinking about evil, the trivial things, and an ongoing conniving for ways to take advantage of others, voluntarily ignoring the equality that we have in God.

For this reason, Scripture is clear in telling us that without God we are nothing; we are lost in our trespasses and sins, and only the power of God can transform us.

In the midst of this situation, what are we doing as individuals and as a Church to face this reality? Are we being instruments of Christ? Are we experiencing the peace of Christ and are we sharing it with those who do not have it and continue to be victims of prevailing unjust systems? If we are in a position of power over others, how are we treating them?

May God help us and find us working in His vineyard, fulfilling His will.

Rafael Barahona is director of Hispanic Pastoral and Leadership Education of Mennonite Education Agency and the editor of Meno Acontecer, a Spanish-language monthly ezine. To subscribe, email

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