Exploring Values with the Bible - Peace
Many schools follow a programme of key values throughout the school year. These values can be an important framework for helping to define and validate the work of the school 'beyond the curriculum'. Each value can be used as the theme for collective worship, the focus for classroom reflection and the subject matter for main hall or quiet corner displays.
The Bible has so much to offer in this area of positive personal, relational and community values, and its timeless wisdom can help all schools pass on to the next generation the qualities of life that are most valuable and which, as Christians, we believe are not only God-given but also can be God-energised in our lives.
What follows is a series of ideas linked to the value of 'Peace'.
It includes: key themes to explore, a key Bible verse to use, key concepts to unpack, ideas for displays and reflective corners, as well as Bible story links with further connections to material on the Barnabas websites.
1. Key themes to explore
Inner peace - learning how to calm oneself, coping with anxieties and fears, enjoying silence, becoming more reflective, cultivating a contented spirit
Peace between each other in school - making and keeping friends, sorting out arguments, making compromises, letting go of hostile feelings, building bridges, learning how to listen to each other
Peace in the community - respecting differences, listening and talking with those who hold opposite views to you, honouring each other, finding common ground
Peace in the world - ending wars, working for peace and peacekeeping, talking not fighting
Peace with God - forgiveness, a new start, being reconciled to God; Christians believe that this is where it all must start for true peace be found both inside ourselves and between each other
2. Key Bible verses
1 Peter 3:10-11 (quoting Psalm 34)
'Do you really love life? Do you want to be happy? Then stop saying cruel things and quit telling lies. Give up your evil ways and do right, as you find and follow the road that leads to peace' (CEV)
Matthew 5:9: 'God blesses those who make peace. They will be called his children.'
3. Key concepts to unpack
Peace has a range of meanings, from silence to the ending of a war.
Peace is something most people long for - an end to hatred, hurting and even harmful noise.
But why is peace so hard to find? Are we frightened of silence? Are we incapable of living peacefully with each other, especially with those who are different from us?
Finding and making peace is hard work and once it is found, it needs to be guarded very carefully.
Children and introduced to the idea of peace when:
- they experience true silence
- they make up with friends after a row
- they see people working together and burying their differences-
- they hear about war and peace in their history lessons walk or on TV
- they hear about wars still going on today
4. Display and reflective corner ideas
Symbols of peace from different faiths and none include: a dove, an olive branch, a cross, a flaming torch, the Olympic rings, a CND badge and a rainbow.
Include a picture of a peace treaty being signed (from the web), weapons being laid down, enemies shaking hands, too hostile flags flying together, a calm lake scene.
Include pictures of Nobel Peace Prize winners.
Perhaps doves could be a recurring motif, flying around this display?
Include a Christmas manger and also the words spoken by the angels of 'peace on earth'.
Key questions to include in the display:
Where do you go to get some peace and quiet? How do you go about making peace with someone?
What does the word 'peace' make you think of?
What situations today need to find peace?
What can you do to make this school a more peaceful place?
Have a Bible open at Romans 12:17-18 'Try to earn the respect of others and do your best to live at peace with everyone'.
5. Bible story links
1. The prophets in the Old Testament foresaw the day when there would be an end to war - see Micah 4:1-5 (beating swords into ploughshares).
2. Isaiah advises that a child will come one day who will be called 'The Prince of Peace' - see Isaiah 9:6-7.
3. The angels sing of peace on earth when Jesus is born - see Luke 2:8-16.
4. Jesus brings peace to the storm on Lake Galilee - see Luke 8:22-25.
5. Paul talks of Jesus being the person who can bring peace between opposing groups of people - see Ephesians 2:14 -18.
6. Paul prays for peace among the people to whom he writes - see 2 Corinthians 13:11-13.
6. Ideas for Collective Worship and the classroom