”The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Numbers 6.26)
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenges us to show love for our enemies: ”You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer.” (Matthew 5.38-39) Christ's own deeds are the model for Christian peace work.
In practice, the commandment to love our enemy has been interpeted in a variety of ways by Christians and western culture. The early church was pacifist, and all military action was forbidden as contrary to the teachings of Christ. Yet there have also been periods of war in the church's history: neither the Crusades nor forced conversion reflect the values of the Sermon on the Mount.
Today, the church's peace work is done both at grassroots and more general levels. Since 2000, interfaith dialogue has been especially important. In particular, 9/11 required churches and religious communities to find new ways to talk with each other.
Finn Church Aid is especially involved in supporting ongoing peace processes in various parts of Africa. Finnish volunteers have also served as observers with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). monitoring the human rights situation in the region and reporting violations. Numerous statements have been issued by the churches in support of human rights and peace.