Protests in the Streets, or Peace on Earth?

Protests in the Streets, or Peace on Earth?

by Preston Parrish, CEO

Corporate Chaplains of America

You know the news, so I won’t rehash it here. I’ll just say I have mixed emotions.

Before joining Corporate Chaplains of America (CCA) and working with our fine workplace chaplains, I served as a law enforcement chaplain, so I have some firsthand understanding of the challenges and dangers those men and women face daily.

At the same time, I am a parent who has had to bury a son, groping to view his freshly dug grave through eyes of faith, while walking away to continue living here without him.

I’m grateful to live in a nation with a Constitution, a Bill of Rights, and a judicial system built on the principle of due process. Yet I know that the only perfect government is that of the perfect King, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Because I was born “white,” I haven’t had to experience the struggles of racial prejudice that so many in our country — and so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ — have had to face. At the same time, some injustices I’ve encountered have made me so angry that, without God’s gracious restraint, I surely would have lashed out, very likely committing other, perhaps even worse injustices.

So, as I say, I have mixed emotions…and I imagine you do too.

What do we do with them? How do we sort through them and act positively on them in our own life, which for most of us is far from the place called Ferguson, Missouri?

Well, since most of us spend most of our waking hours in the workplace, maybe one way to start is by asking how can we personally take the lead there in infusing our places of employment with respect, listening, understanding, and caring — “doing justly and loving mercy” (Micah 6:8) — rather than just surrendering to dissension and destruction.

At CCA, we are convinced that the key to doing so is in embodying, living and speaking the Good News of God’s love for all people, regardless of our differences. Our professional, trained chaplains exemplify this truth day in and day out in hundreds of workplaces across America. Never has their ministry been more important, because “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8) and who among us does not need that?

Of course, we tend to think other people’s sins are more heinous than our own, and we really want them to get what’s coming to them, even as we get “off the hook.” But as a distinctively Christian ministry, we at CCA know that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 3:23, 6:23). In other words, all of us need — and need to be instruments of — His peace.

At Christmas, we especially focus on the glorious truth that Christ came to offer us His Peace — peace with God, peace with ourselves, and peace with one another. (It comes through a faith in Him that shapes our hearts and our lives.)

And He did so not in some idyllic world of fairy-tale human harmony, but in a world where life was cheap and disposable, where racial differences ran high, and where cruel violence was the norm. In fact, He Himself suffered unspeakably, and unjustly, at human hands. (Then He conquered the very grave in which they placed Him.)

Because Christ Himself “is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14), He will enable us to know and share His peace with others, if we will just seek Him. So, as our nation stumbles its way through this latest moment of human fallenness, let’s each of us determine, through Christ, to make a stand for all that’s true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (cf. Philippians 4:8).

As we do, then even this latest season of celebrating God’s plan for “peace on earth” — which has begun with angry protests in the streets — can be a time of peace in our workplaces, a time in which rising waves of anger and hatred turn into rivers of healing and hope.

At Corporate Chaplains of America, it would be our privilege to be partners with you to this end. To find out more, visit our website (www.chaplain.org), like us on Facebook, or email us at caring@chaplain.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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