Osheta Moore is a pastor and peacemaker committed to following the nonviolent path of Jesus in her work for racial justice.
I’ve spent the last decade calling in the peacemakers to view their peacemaking in light of the Hebraic concept of shalom. I define it as God’s dream for the world as it should be, nothing missing, nothing broken, everything made whole. Because shalom is God’s dream and God is love, our shalom practices must be rooted in love. Therefore, I’ve invited peacemakers to resist peacemaking that is rooted in anxiety and to choose peacemaking out of a posture of love. When love enters the equation, everything changes. We begin to ask ourselves what we’re for instead of what we’re against.
Moore makes a distinction between “keeping the peace,” which often allows injustice to flourish, and actively “making peace”:
The call to be an anti-racism peacemaker is not easy, because the shalom of God does not come easy. This kind of peace that lasts was shown to us in Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection, and then we as peacemakers are called to live it out. Anything that does not require us to sacrifice for each other is another form of peacekeeping, not peacemaking. I’m interested in dismantling white supremacy in order to build up something better for you and for me. I’m interested in the peacemaking North Star of the Beloved Community . . . that holds us accountable to be in right relatedness to each other and create an environment where we can all thrive.
The whole of Jesus’ ministry was to establish a community so convinced of their Belovedness to God that they proclaim the Belovedness of others. [Richard: Chosenness is for the sake of letting all others know they are chosen too!] Belovedness is a massive act of owning and accepting your humanness as a gift from a God who deeply loves you. As we adjust our thinking of this work as rehumanizing those who have been dehumanized, Belovedness is essential in our anti-racism peacemaking. Which is why nonviolence in thought, word, and deed is a pillar in my anti-racism work. . . .
This is the way of the Beloved Community:
Claim your Belovedness: love God, love self.
Then proclaim it: love others, love the world. . . .
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was the primary way students joined the civil rights movement and learned how to practice its nonviolent technique. In 1962, at a staff meeting they reaffirmed their commitment to nonviolence by describing it this way, “Love [is] the central motif of nonviolence,” the “force by which God binds man to himself and man to man.”  . . .
Daily I tell myself this when I choose to engage with anti-racism peacemaking work from a nonviolent, peacemaking posture:
I, a Black Peacemaker, am Beloved, and you, a White Peacemaker, are Beloved, and we belong to each other. . . .
Everything else will disappoint and overwhelm, but the love of God owned and reflected is the living water we need along the journey.
 Charles Marsh, The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice, from the Civil Rights Movement to Today (New York: Basic Books, 2005), 3.
Osheta Moore, Dear White Peacemakers: Dismantling Racism with Grit and Grace (Harrisonburg, VA: Herald Press, 2021), 30, 95–96, 97, 98.
Explore Further. . .
- Listen to The Cosmic We hosts Barbara Holmes and Donny Bryant discuss “The Ethics of Love” with Dorsey Blake.
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Claudia Retter, Three Fish (details), photograph, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge the image.
This week’s image appears in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story.
Image inspiration: We might find ourselves swimming against the current, but we’ve made a conscious decision to practice something different in response to an inner call.
Story from Our Community:
The other day I was in my backyard with my 15 month old granddaughter. As she was exploring the yard a blackbird landed on a tree branch above her. She squatted down and looked up and said “Hi.” In that moment I saw it through her eyes not as just a bird but as a fellow living being with as big a part in this world as she and I. I thought of all I have learned from Center for Action and Contemplation in these daily readings. —Robin S.
Prayer for our community:
God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough, because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.