4 figures holding hands in a circle
paper or felt shaped like Iraq
the letters I R A Q
figure sitting and reading a book
Today I want to tell you about a Quaker man named Tom Fox who believed in walking cheerfully over the earth answering to that of God in everyone.
Put out the mat
Tom was a dad. He had 2 children, a girl and a boy. Tom loved his children and loved being a dad. He loved to cook and he loved making music.
And he loved peace. Tom Fox was a peacemaker.
Put out the peace symbol.
One day Tom heard God ask him to go to a place where there was war, a place that really needed peacemakers.
(Optional for those who have studied the Godly Play stories:
This is a place we have been before. This part of the world is now called the Middle East and is where Jesus came from. Abram lived here. Moses lived here. This is where the Family of God came from. An area near the desert that Abram and Moses came from became the villages and cities of what is now called Iraq. After the Family of God, there came many other families. They had children who had children who had children until your grandparents were born and they had your parents and your parents had you. And other families had children who had children until the grandparents were born; they had the parents of the children now in this land called Iraq. And now there is a war in Iraq. This is where God’s people began and we are going back there. We all came from there and Tom Fox felt called to go back. Abram was called to the desert. Moses was called to the desert. And Tom Fox was called to the desert).
Tom joined with other peacemakers who felt God wanted them to go to a place where there was war. They formed a team and were called a Christian Peacemaker Team.
Put the four guys together holding hands on the right side of the mat.
Tom’s team called themselves a Christian team because, like Jesus, they believed that people need to love and forgive one another. People are different from one another and may not understand one another. They may have conflicts but they need to work out differences without being violent and hurting one another. Christian Peacemaker Teams believe that our world would be a lot better place if we all put our energy into making peace instead of making war.
While putting out the piece shaped like Iraq and the letters I R A Q
The land that God wanted Tom to go to was called Iraq. Tom listened to God and went there. When he got to Iraq, Tom saw many people hurting and killing one another. Many children were being hurt and they were sad. Put out the sad children. Tom was especially concerned about the children because they did not have the food or medicine they needed.
Put out double heart.
When Tom was in Iraq, he was faithful to what God asked him to do. His friends said he was gentle, patient, compassionate, forgiving and courageous. His heart met the hearts of the Iraqi people.
While putting up the tent, placing Tom sitting in front with a book.
Sometimes he lived in a tent and sat by his tent and read books to people that would help them to be more loving and forgiving. Sometimes he cooked them delicious food. Sometimes he just listened to their stories and they felt loved by him. His voice made the people less afraid. He might say, “I am glad I am here to help.” Or he might say, “You keep taking care of yourself now.” And his friends felt less afraid.
When people are hurting and killing one another, many people feel mad and afraid. Tom prayed for all of the people, those doing the hurting and those being hurt, and that helped him not to be mad at people. Being afraid was even harder to overcome than feeling mad. Almost everyday he prayed, did yoga and welcomed the sun as it came up in the morning. He said thank you to God for his life and all that he was given. And that made Tom feel less afraid.
One day when Tom was sitting in meeting for worship, an image came to him about Iraq. Tom saw that Iraq was “a land of shadows and darkness.
Put black pieces for shadows across the land.
But within that land candles were burning; not many candles but enough to shed some light on the landscape.
Put candles up slowly.
Some candles disappeared –
Take away candles.
– and it was my sense that their light was taken away for protection. Other candles burned until nothing was left and a small number of candles seemed to have their light snuffed out by the shadows and darkness.
What was most striking was that as the candles which burned until the end and the candles whose light was snuffed out ceased to burn, more candles came into being, seemingly to build on their light.”
Put up many more candles.
Tom said, “There are many people willing to die for war. There must be more people who are willing to die for peace.”
He knew he was in a dangerous land and that he could be hurt or killed because many people around him were being hurt and killed. When he talked with his friends about the possibility of his being hurt or killed, he said, “If I am ever called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice in love of enemy, I trust that God will give me the grace to do so.” Soon after that he was kidnapped and then killed.
(Pause.) Take Tom out of the picture.
His friends say that they are sure that Tom forgave those who did it.
Place hands over each group as you say the following words:
People everywhere were sad when Tom died; his children were very sad, his friends were sad, the people in Iraq were sad, the children were sad, and people on both sides of the fighting were sad. Many people were sad who did not know Tom but knew of his work. They knew that Tom was a Quaker and lived a good life. Tom wanted to live like Jesus, and he did in many ways. And people in many places in the world said, “If Tom can be faithful to his calling to be a peacemaker, I can too. I can live more simply.”
Hold a cross in your hand (if the group is uncomfortable with the cross symbol, a candle/light could be used)
Tom believed deeply that there is that of God in EVERY person. Some people call that of God in every person (the Light or) Christ-energy. Some people believe that Christ-energy keeps on living even if the person dies. That of God was in Tom and Tom’s (light) Christ-energy is here, inspiring us. Tom followed Jesus as his example.
Place the cross (or candle), the heart and the peace symbol on the front of the mat.
Another man named George Fox started Quakerism. He told us to “be patterns, be examples in every country, place, or nation that you visit then you’ll walk cheerfully across the earth and help bring to light that of God in everybody. You will be seen as a blessing in their eyes and you will receive a blessing from that of God within them.” Tom felt blessed as he worked happily with the people in Iraq. Tom Fox followed his teacher George Fox and he was a peacemaker.
Tom Fox lived as he believed was right. And he died. BUT THAT IS NOT THE END OF THE STORY! Tom saw that when one candle goes out, many more get lit. Others will become peacemakers and follow Tom as an example, just as Tom and George Fox followed Jesus. Set up more candles.
Sit quietly for a moment.
In silence, light the candles and leave them lit while doing the wondering questions.
- I wonder what part of the story you liked best?
- I wonder how you might be a peacemaker in your life today?
- I wonder if you have ever been a peacemaker?
- I wonder what you might do as a peacemaker when you are a grown-up?
- I wonder if it was hard for Tom Fox to forgive people that hurt him?
- I wonder what the candles in the story represent?
- I wonder what is the most important part of the story for you?
- I wonder where you are in the story. I wonder what part of the story is about you?
- I wonder where is God in the story?
I am going to put the story of Tom Fox away. These lights are burning for peace. Even when I blow them out, in our hearts, they are still burning for peace.