Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of five columns written by Ron Byler, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. executive director, to mark 100 […]
Amid turbulent times, the need to remain calm and take control as much as possible is a must and a challenge. Remaining calm and gaining control will set the stage to think clearly and, therefore, to respond appropriately. Furthermore, one needs to avoid reacting at all cost. But let’s face it, in such times and conditions like the ones in which we live in, this is not always easy.
Many people are facing discrimination and racism and, if this were not enough, some are also experiencing family separation. To make matters worse, the increase of gun violence across the nation adds up to stormy and choppy waters in society.
Due to this cruel reality, I have asked myself: When will it end? Will this storm pass?
I was taught that in leadership, one needs to be ready for the storm, to be calmed and to calm those around us who are experiencing the storm as well.
Being calm does not mean to remain or being pushed to the sidelines. It does not mean ignoring the situation at hand by doing nothing and believing that the situation will go away by itself.
Rather, it seems to me that leadership means, despite fear and despair, facing our current situation and its reality with a head-on approach to procure a societal transformation. It means challenging and contesting those realities like the Old Testament prophets did: denouncing sin and announcing God’s redemptive and transformative love.
In times of troubled waters, I have found hope because God and a community of faith had been by my side. This constitutes a support system that comforts my soul, body and mind in times of pain. Also, it became my life-compass to regain my “north” as I attempt to continue my life journey.
More than ever before, I think there is this urgency to give evidence of being citizens of the kingdom of God. Also, living like sons and daughters of peace, is a must. I believe true allegiance to Christ over social and political views is a real challenge and a decision to be made.
May the Spirit of Christ grant us the grace, strength and commitment to be instruments of peace, agents of transformation, vessels of reconciliation and beacons for hope for a better today and tomorrow. “Be still, know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Byron Pellecer is associate conference minister for Western District Conference. This article originally appeared in the conference newsletter WDC Sprouts.
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