Reclaiming Peace

Het Verstoorde Leven (The Disturbed Life), Monument in remembrance of Etty Hillesum, 1985, Arno Kramer (photo credit: Arno Kramer)

Ultimately we have just one moral duty; to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be also in our troubled world.

Esther, or Etty, Hillesum, writer of these words, was born on 15 January 1914, in the Netherlands.

As Jews under Nazi occupation, Etty’s father and mother either died during transport to Auschwitz or were gassed immediately upon arrival in September 1943.

Etty Hillesum

According to the Red Cross, Etty died at Auschwitz two months later, on 30 November 1943.

The Advent anticipating of Jesus’ birth is finished now. Christ is born.

The waiting isn’t over yet, though, is it. Jesus began a new era but the job of renewing the universe is a long one.

Theologians talk of the ‘now-and-not-yet’ of the kingdom of God or, as Martin Sutherland says, the ‘now-and-not-seen’. Something fundamental changed in the Christ event, but those following him are charged with continuing the work in his name.

The Prince of Peace has inaugurated new ways of both being and doing, and invites us to do as Etty says: ‘reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace and to reflect it towards others.’

What I find intriguing about her exhortation is the connection between internal and external peace. I’m interested in your thoughts on all of this, and particularly:

  • how we might ‘reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves’
  • how that reclamation might contribute to a more peaceful world.

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