Nearly 1.9 billion people in the world identify as Muslim, so it is no surprise that many of our frontier partners live and minister in majority Muslim areas. Peace is a central concept in Islam and is integrally linked to the definition of the word Islam: submission to Allah. Muslims can be found in many different regions and cultures, and many are moderate, pious, nonviolent people who try to honor Allah in their lives.
Ethiopians have struggled to find peace this year. Ethnic violence has grown between people of different religious and cultural backgrounds. Communities that once lived together in peace are now divided like never before. For many years, the mostly-Muslim Oromo people group (the largest in Ethiopia) has been marginalized and oppressed by those in power. In recent months, they’ve taken to the streets in protest, crying out for change. They know there can be no peace without justice.
In the face of hostility and injustice, Jesus offers Himself as the way to peace. When we are reconciled to God in Christ, Paul declares that “he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14). Through Him, all peoples—Jew and Gentile, Oromo and Amhara, Black and White—have access to the Good News of God’s Kingdom. Enemies are reconciled. Foreigners and strangers become members of God’s family. Christ holds us all together in a unified body, preserving the identity, diversity and distinction of every nation, tribe, people and language.
Christ calls us to be peacemakers—to speak out against injustice and advocate for the oppressed. Let us learn to love our enemies. Let us learn to listen, to be respectful and to resist arguing with one another. As we proclaim Christ’s message of peace, let us do all we can to live it out—that His name may be glorified in us!