In the growth of this relationship and our formation as disciples, activities that we often think of as worship or the stuff of church services are essential. Prayer, praise, study and reflection all make space for us to connect with God and enable us to embed ourselves in Christ’s life of righteousness and shalom.
The traditional church service takes the following form: we are welcomed, confess our sins, are forgiven, praise, listen to the word, share the peace, take communion and are sent out into the world again. This reminds us of the story of our relationship with Jesus every week – we are welcomed, confess, are forgiven, learn from God, and are united as the body of Christ, before being sent out again to make disciples and bear witness to the kingdom of God 1. At the centre of this worship, and of critical importance to peacebuilding, is the celebration of communion, for it is here that the many diverse members of the body of Christ become one body, in Christ.
In this way, our faith becomes more than a set of beliefs that we say we hold – it becomes something that changes us and the way we live. Becoming more like Christ brings with it and brings out certain characteristics or attitudes in us, shaping our character and our ways of being so that we engage with the world in Christ-like ways. We’ll look at some of the characteristics that are important to peacebuilding in the next post.
1 If you want to learn more about this, we recommend reading Desiring the Kingdom by James K A Smith, Desiring the Kingdom (Baker Academic, 2009)
You can read Hannah’s introduction to the Peacebuilding blog series and her post on Peacebuilding as a part of God’s mission here.