Christian Peacemakers hold vigil with Iraqis in a destroyed house in Abu Sifu. Photo: CPT
For those who are Christians, Advent is the season of waiting in joyful hope for the Christ child. For those who are moved by the nonviolent witness of the members of the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) in Iraq, this December is a time of waiting in anxious hope for news to the four members kidnapped in Baghdad on November 26.
The four men, Tom Fox, Jim Loney, Hameet Sooden, and Norman Kemper, were taken as they were leaving a mosque where they had discussed what could be done to free Iraqis detained by U.S. and/or Iraqi government. There has been no known contact with their kidnappers, who call themselves the Swords of Righteousness Brigade, since December 8. Thousands of people, from all over the world, Christians, Muslims and others, have signed a petition, held vigils, and, as a step toward reducing violence in Iraq, called for an end to the occupation.
In this time of waiting, those so much closer to the situation have much to share.
Peggy Gish has served on CPT's Iraq team since before the multinational forces invaded in 2003. She is currently doing support work for the Iraq team based in Amman, Jordan from where she wrote this reflection:
Sheila Provencher works with CPT in Baghdad. She tells us:
Brian Conley points out on Alive in Baghdad:
Simon Barrow both catalogues media commentary on the CPT hostage taking and reflects:
He has a lot more to say; check it out.
Finally, Gene Stoltzfus, who was director of the CPT from its beginnings until 2004, brings a special, experiential wisdom to peacemaking. On his blog Peace Talk he draws a word picture of what a meeting between CPT members and the sheik of a Baghdad mosque might have been like, takes up the implications of the hostage-takers' claim that the CPT folks are "spies," and tries to help the people of the U.S. understand why the rest of the world might think of them as purveyors of terror. In Who Did It? he gently explains:
Read the rest of it; it is worth the effort.
And so this Advent, we wait and pray for the CPT hostages and their captors, hoping that somehow our very broken world might find the joy that is also hidden among us.