Some people will know that I am stepping down as Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR) in a few weeks to begin a new adventure – Fig Tree.   Fig Tree is the umbrella under which I will undertake work for peace and nonviolence and to challenge the culture of violence and militarism.   In many senses this is a continuation of the work that I have been doing for the last seven years at FoR (and, indeed for twenty years or more under different hats).  Its hard therefore in some senses  to say ‘this is when Fig Tree starts’.  But a few weeks back I realised that Pentecost was on the horizon and decided that Fig Tree starts at Pentecost.

Putting posters on MoD wall with Susan

I’d mentioned Pentecost as a possible day for action to my friends in London Catholic Worker and we agreed to undertake a Pentecost action against the war in Afghanistan at the MoD building in Whitehall.  Writing a leaflet for the event, I came across the following in a homily by Fr. John Dear  

Pentecost marks the beginning of the Christian community’s public speaking about the nonviolent Jesus. It is the day when they were empowered to speak out boldly, come what may.  Out they go into the streets, speaking out. They gather crowds about them and tell of the nonviolent Jesus, of his love and peace, of his death and resurrection, of his new realm of nonviolence. And as always, preaching “for” bears a stand “against” — against empire, against its violence and wars, against executions and laws. Soon the Sanhedrin and other authorities get the gist of the message implied against them, and the disciples find themselves in trouble. Some land in jail, some go off to martyrdom. All enter God’s reign of peace

At the MoD four of us put up posters on the building in English and Afghan calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan, whilst others prayed, held banners and leafleted passersby.  Whilst our ‘speaking out for peace’ did not receive the same attention as long ago in Jerusalem – indeed our posters were soon torn down by the police and our leaflets went mostly unread, our prayers for peace, we know, do not go unnoticed.  As we sat at the foot of the massive stones of the MoD main building, we were comforted in the knowledge that they will one day fall, and everyone will,  one day,  live in peace ‘under their own vine and fig tree’.  Amen