Prayers for Peacemakers, 6 March 2017
Today, we grieve with family, friends and community of MJ Sharp who died investigating the ongoing violence and human rights abuses in Democratic Republic of the Congo and advocating for creative violence-reduction solutions.
Today, we remember those who died not giving up hope and struggle for a better world built on respect, justice and peace. May their lives and work become seeds that will transform this violent world and give rise to a new future for us all.
“And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.” Job 2:13
How do we make sense of the death of a peacemaker? All of us at Christian Peacemaker Teams extend our deepest sympathies to those grieving the death of MJ Sharp, who died while carefully investigating the ongoing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and offering creative violence-reduction solutions to the international community. Some of us had the honor of working with MJ in Palestine, or traveling on delegation with him. Some of us knew him growing up in Pennsylvania and Indiana, some had life-long friendships with him.
Grieving a member of our beloved peacemaking community killed after a kidnapping is stark and familiar territory at CPT. We are variously comforted that he died doing what he believed in; outraged at the loss of one so dear, so committed, so young, so brilliant; and despairing at what feel like endless cycles of violence.
We are fearful for our partners in peacemaking around the world, as climbing attempts and assassinations show human rights defenders are living in mounting danger. We’re reminded of the others we still grieve, and the young, colorful, activists in the Congo who continue to push on for democracy and transparency there. We know that in this work MJ will not be the last beloved peacemaker we lose. Grief comes quietly and with force, slowly and all at once; it comes in waves and steadily. It is not just one thing.
We grieve, too, for those who lay in the mass graves MJ and his colleagues were going to document. May none of them be forgotten as we recommit ourselves to the task of building partnerships to transform the violence and oppression we face.