Dean of Identity | Mr Charles Brauer

Three symbols of peace and tolerance

Two weeks ago, 150 members of our Terrace Family gathered and spent some time reflecting on our personal and communal response to the recent Christchurch tragedy. This tragic event that has shaken the people of New Zealand has reminded me, and our world, that peace and tolerance in our societies is something we cannot take for granted. We need to continually seek ways to speak for peace and tolerance, advocate for peace and tolerance and be instruments of peace and tolerance. We must walk the talk of peace and tolerance.

Our Christian faith is strongly grounded in peace. In fact, one of the very first ways Jesus asked his followers to be fully human was to be a peacemaker. The Christian faith is not the only faith that strongly promotes peace. In all the media reports we hear, we read, we see – we can lose sight of the fact that many faiths have peace and tolerance as a key tenet, belief or practice.

At tomorrow’s end of term Thanksgiving Liturgy, we will spend some still and quiet time exploring and giving thanks for three symbols that call their respective followers to be instruments of peace in our world:

The crescent moon. A heavenly body we witness in this form each 28 days. The symbol for the followers of Islam. A 600 year old Islamic prayer calls people to:

Unite our hearts and set aright our mutual affairs, guide us in the path of peace.

The cross. Two simple intersecting lines arranged perpendicular to each other. The symbol for Christians who are committed to following the way of Jesus. The well known Peace Prayer of St Francis asks us to:

Make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring love. Where there is hurt, let me bring forgiveness. Where there is disharmony, let me bring unity.

The six-pointed star. Two overlaid equilateral triangles. The symbol of Judaism, representing the star of David and the foundations of the faith. “Shalom” is a traditional Jewish greeting, with deep meaning:

Translated, “shalom” means “I wish peace for you.” Not transient peace that comes and goes. Rather, peace which subsists. Peace which stays with you.

As a Catholic faith and learning community, the Gospel of Jesus reminds us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life of peace. Our Lenten journey, which continues for the next two weeks, has, and will continue to, provide us with the chance to follow the path of peace. As our Lenten journey brings us closer to the season of Easter, we remember that Jesus is a way, a truth and a life of peace. 

I wish all our students and families a happy and safe holiday and a Holy Easter.

The Good News of Terrace: St James’ Captains Efon and Paul sharing their thoughts on the EREA Touchstones with our Year 7s.