Although music is an agent of peacebuilding, we live in a society that views music as entertainment, placing it in the “arts and entertainment” section of the newspaper, listing it as a subheading on the dropdown menu of the “Entertainment” tab on websites such as aol.com, alongside celebrity news, movies, games, and TV listings. The music that children in choral groups from three different organizations located in three distinct Brooklyn neighborhoods engaged in on Sunday, January 29, 2012, had nothing to do with entertainment. In fact, it had everything to do with peacebuilding.
Children’s Chorus of Bay Ridge and Art on the Corner, two community ministries of Good Shepherd, hosted the Children’s Choral Arts Festival for Peace at Good Shepherd. Beginning at 2 p.m., the Junior Choir of St. Saviour Elementary School [located in Park Slope], the Junior Choir and Primary Choir of Leif Ericson Day School [located in Dyker Heights], and Children’s Chorus of Bay Ridge presented a concert followed by refreshments, face-painting, and arts activities. Artwork created by children in the choruses, by alumni of the groups, and by students of Bay Ridge Preparatory School was also on display.
Choosing the month of January to host the event was deliberate: the event came on the heels of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the two-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Peacebuilding permeated both commemorations. To promote peacebuilding, the choral groups raised funds for Children in Need Haitian Project, a
501(c)3 corporation, via the event. Although admission was free, donations to support this worthy cause were strongly encouraged. Children raising funds to benefit other children is indeed a most fitting proposition. For more information about Children in Need Haitian Project, visit their website or www.facebook.com/children.in.need.Haiti
Engaging in peacebuilding is risky. It means taking responsibility for every action and inaction, every word spoken and left unsaid. It is serious work, demanding the best of us, requiring us to do what is right and just, to love tenderly with mercy, to serve with compassion, and to walk humbly in the light of God.
Rise to the challenge: dare to be a light in the dark places of this world; dare to express a longing for peace, for healing, and for the well-being of all creation; dare to live as a citizen of God's kingdom [in your faith lens];dare to advocate against violence in all its forms.
Peace be with you.