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Monday, 19 December 2016

Peace-making through compassion: A tribute to Bud Godderis.

If ever there was someone who embodied peace-making through compassion, it was Bud Godderis; Bud lived in Castlegar with Ann.  Bud died this past week.  Bud was a gentle soul who had the fire of compassion and love deep in his heart.  He stood tall in the face of injustice and oppression, but he did so with dignity, with grace, with gentle humour and never with violence.  Bud will be missed and my prayers go out to Ann and their family.

Bud was someone who helped me redefine what it is to be an activist. We never spoke about activism particularly, but his actions confirmed for me what I’d already been concluding… when we show up or stand up or speak up in any fashion against injustice and oppression, we are activists.

As remarkable as it seems, the peace and justice movement can sometimes become elitist where only those who engage in civil disobedience are seen as true activists.  Those who engage in other forms of protest, as in writing letters or blogs, organizing protests, or providing food or other supports, are not seen as true activists.

Bud quietly affirmed anyone and everyone as an activist who was engaged in speaking truth to power.  He helped to confirm for me what I’d long believed, namely that we all use the gifts and skills we have to speak out against injustice and tyranny—and that makes us activists.

Among the many things Bud gifted the world, I want to name two other things particularly: he had a gentle and amazing way of creating alliances and relationships, bringing people from disparate backgrounds together; and he unstintingly spoke about being a follower of Jesus the peacemaker.  The first time I heard Bud speak, he spoke from his perspective of being a follower of Jesus; he didn’t speak of being a follower of Jesus in a “Bible-thumping” exclusivist kind of way, but as one who followed the same path of justice-making and standing against tyranny and oppression.

Bud’s legacy will live on in those of us who continue to counter injustice with love and oppression with compassion.  He is now part of the communion of saints, our ancestors, who help us walk the path of peace with courage and integrity.  He has helped us affirm that people-to-people peace-making, creating relationships and affirming each other as human beings is the only way we will create lasting peace and communities of hope and love.

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