Peace Talks

By Ps Alby Yip

The Shangri-La Dialogue is happening in Singapore’s Shangri-La Hotel this weekend. The event, now in its 21st year, “is a platform for government officials, business leaders, and security experts to discuss pressing regional security concerns. It involves speeches, debates, as well as private meetings on the sidelines.” (Channel News Asia, 30/5/24) In other words, it is a Peace Talk. 

21 years of peace talks and the world is still filled with strife and injustices, and the problem is growing. The Geneva Academy is monitoring 110 armed conflicts happening around the world, some lasting more than 50 years. The Doomsday Clock predicted humanity is only 90 seconds away from self-destruction. We see the poor getting poorer, the marginalised more marginalised. The world is in no better place notwithstanding the many Peace Talks.

I just visited an elderly gentleman in a hospice for palliative care. He summarised what many experts did not, could not or will not acknowledge. He said the world is upside down. And there is only one man who can help—the Man on the Cross! Why? Because He is the only One who has the power to overcome the earth but yet chose to allow the earth to overpower Him to secure and show what is true and lasting peace.

The world needs another kind of Peace Talk. It is to talk about this Prince of Peace. It is to talk about this Gospel of Peace. It is to talk about the One who says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) I believe all Christians know, are convicted and are proclaiming, I hope, this Prince and Gospel of Peace, aka, telling people about Jesus.

But how does this look like in the everyday bolts and nuts of life? Surely, we can’t be talking about or preaching the Gospel to everyone in everything. Perhaps, the recent scenes of the swearing-in of our new Prime Minister and his cabinet may be a good prompter. Sixteen chose to hold a Bible and end their pledge with, “So help me God.” I’m very sure it was not a public proclamation of Christianity. 

I’m convinced it was a declaration of their faith. In so doing, they expect themselves to be held accountable for what they believe. It is a commitment that their conduct, decisions, and conversations whether private or public, personal or official; all will be shaped by the Gospel. I pray and hope that not only them, but all of us Christians will make this declaration and commitment. That I believe is real Peace Talk. That is what our world needs. 

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