Betwixt and Between

My favorite part of the day is from the first light of dawn until the sun breaks into its fullness. It is God’s daily invitation to join in his redeeming work. It is in this liminal space, “betwixt and between” darkness and light, that hope rises. Every single day. And it is to this hope-filled invitation that we say “yes.”

At the Center for Peacemaking, we believe that God’s restorative transforming work occurs in the in-between space. We believe that the power of good triumphs over evil, that making things right restores hurt and harm, transforms conflict, heals trauma and restores brokenness in all of us. As we respond to the invitation to pursue restoration and reconciliation, we exist in the space of what was and what is yet to be, and it is brimming with potential.

Christ emerged in a gathering with his disciples from the great liminal space of our faith between the crucifixion and the resurrection and said, “peace be with you.” Peace was likely the farthest thing from their minds. Not only did Christ proclaim peace within their safely locked doors, but he also sent them out as the father had sent him. And when asked for proof from a disciple before proceeding, he gave Thomas exactly the evidence he asked for (John 20:19-31). Believing, receiving and proceeding was not for the faint of heart in Jesus’ day, or today.

Vulnerability and courage are required to engage the cultures and serve the cities as a response to Christ’s invitation for peace. And the invitations are pouring in from individuals, families, churches, community organizations, courts, schools, prisons, neighborhoods and counties across California.

Fresno Pacific University is uniquely positioned for this work and witness as an Anabaptist institution with a strong foundation and reputation for peacemaking. The Center for Peacemaking is at the heart of the Fresno Pacific Idea and the invitation to believe, receive and proceed in pursuing the peace Christ offers us.

FPU students are uniquely poised to say “yes” to this invitation, and they are. They are integrating peacemaking theology, skills and practice into their lives, making those lives flow with love and compassion, and making healing connections in a divisive culture seeking relief from ever-increasing anxieties and insecurities. A new Peacemaking Certificate through the Office of Continuing Education is currently being designed for professionals in education, law enforcement, the criminal justice system and other organizational and community leaders who are also responding to the invitation to pursue peace across the sectors of society.

Students and volunteers trained in evidence-based restorative programming across the community justice spectrum are discovering the transformational power of peacemaking in the sacred spaces of school discipline, first-time minor offenses of juveniles, in-prison restorative programming and reentry circles for those released from prison with major crimes in their past. We are embracing “community” in justice and it is an imaginative, experimental and innovative place to experience God at work.

At the end of the day, as the sun sets with glorious vibrant hues mixed with the dust and soot of the Central Valley, we can pause. Experience awe. Breathe. Release. Be still and know. Feel our feet on the earth and lift our hearts toward heaven. Give thanks. Rest. And be ready to say “yes” again to the invitations awaiting us in the new day coming.