YOU would be forgiven for feeling discouraged, annoyed, frustrated and quite frankly fed-up after reading recent comments published by Katie Hoey.
Even though she claims that her comments were taken out of context, the truth of the matter is that many people were left feeling deeply offended. I was too.
So often the work of peace-making can leave us feeling as though we have taken two steps forward and six steps back – all a stark reminder that peace-making is hard work. I know many of us want something better. We want a society where all people flourish and equality is championed, but the reality is that sectarianism still remains here.
However, despite it looking like some are becoming more entrenched in their views, we must not give up. I believe the majority of us want to continue working toward an equal and fair society for us all.
When we think about the type of society  we all desire to live in we are challenged to think through what type of people we ought to be in order to create such a place.
The emphasis is on you and I ‘being’: Being compassionate, being people of grace, being people of equality, being people who are known peacemakers; against the odds, amidst the knockbacks and even despite the insults. We can all choose to work together for something better.
I’m sure you are familiar with St Francis’ prayer ‘Make Me a Channel of Your Peace’ (I remember singing it in school assembly many years ago). Recently, I read a rewriting of this famous prayer, titled ‘Lord, Make Me a Channel of Disturbance: the Reverse St Francis Prayer’. Have a read below, and remember that the work of peace-making calls us to be a people who disturb…
Lord, make me a channel of disturbance.
Where there is apathy, let me provoke;
Where there is compliance, let me bring questioning;
Where there is silence, may I be a voice.
Where there is too much comfort and too little action, grant disruption;
Where there are doors closed and hearts locked,
Grant the willingness to listen.
When laws dictate and pain is overlooked…
When tradition speaks louder than need…
Grant that I may seek rather to do justice than to talk about it;
Disturb us, O Lord,
To be with, as well as for, the alienated;
To love the unlovable as well as the lovely;
Lord, make me a channel of disturbance.
Author Unknown.