A Contemporary Theology for Ecumenical Peace by James E. Will (auth.)

By James E. Will (auth.)

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0005  A Contemporary Theology for Ecumenical Peace social progress, undermines equality and promotes alienation. Then the wise balance between personal liberty and social equality that genuine justice requires is lost. Justice as the structure of love may only be realized in a society that promotes and sustains both personal freedom and social equality. The praxis that can overcome alienation and inequality is the action of genuinely kind persons capable of internal I-Thou relations. The praxis of just love can transform an unjust nation from social alienation toward the wholeness of divine peace, and internationally, on a much larger scale requiring much greater effort, can move a sinful creation toward its destined fulfillment of God’s eternal intention of ecumenical peace.

Perhaps no one expressed this more profoundly at a more critical juncture in American history than President Abraham Lincoln in his famous Gettysburg Address. ” Seeing this event in relation to God provided, perhaps almost subconsciously, both the Christian symbol of “new birth” and the religious assurance of never perishing. But, as subsequent history shows, this event, despite Lincoln’s powerful rhetoric, did not finally resolve the issues in American society that had led to the civil war. This was never more apparent than at the fiftieth anniversary of Gettysburg in 1913 when thousands of black veterans were excluded from the ceremony, while Northern and Southern white veterans mingled to show regional reconciliation.

No grandiose claims about their historical affect in resolving the cold war is intended or possible. The problems at issue were too complex and the interacting factors too many to make any such claims credible. Our personal praxis and even our communal praxis are only small drops in the divine tide moving God’s creation toward the wholeness of peace. The biblical theology this chapter has articulated leads us to affirm that it is finally only the Holy Spirit of our Universal Creator who can use the small contributions of our praxis to bring our world toward the wholeness of universal peace.

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