Thursday, May 5, 2011

Let Peace Begin With Me

At church this past Sunday morning I was lucky enough to hear a very timely message about peace - finding peace, creating peace, and nurturing peace within ourselves and with others.  I've been reflecting on that message since then and I feel compelled to write a little bit about it here (in fact, I borrowed the title of that sermon for the title of this post).  I don't have any groundbreaking insights about peace, but I do want to share some things that have really stuck with me since this weekend.

At one point during the morning, we read the following stanzas as a responsive reading.  I am struck by the simple, and yet awesome, truth of where peace must originate if we are to have it with others.

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

~ Lao Tse, 6th century BC

The woman who led Sunday's service is a musician, so in addition to delivering the sermon she also performed songs of love and peace for us.  She encouraged the congregation to participate by sharing small, handheld percussion instruments with us to play while she was singing.  She also added some special touches like taking a version of this poem of Rumi's (a 13th century Sufi mystic), and creating a song for us all to sing together.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.  I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.

An unexpected gift from Sunday's sermon was discovering the music of Sara Thomsen.  A handful of us waited out some technical difficulties at the end of the service as folks were drifting out to spend some time in fellowship with each other over coffee and we were treated to Sara's song "By Breath" from the album of the same title.  I immediately came home and downloaded this album and have been listening to it ever since.  This song is both soothing and soul stirring to listen to and - I think - speaks beautifully to the interconnectedness between us all.

Finally, I would like to share a photo that Enthusiastic Explorer Boy drew one afternoon at the kitchen table about a year and a half ago.  I still don't know what moved him to create this, but it is something that I've faithfully kept posted on the door leading to the garage where it will continue to survive periodic purges of the artwork that ends up there.  (My apologies for the fact that it is pictured sideways, I can't figure out how to flip it so that it is positioned vertically in the blog.)

He added the small button sticker in the bottom right-hand corner for what I seem to recall were purely decorative purposes, but the word printed on it is "ALL" and that seems to be just right for a drawing about peace.
I wish for you to have peace in your heart and peace in your home.  If enough of us light a candle, then we can help drive the darkness away.

"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."  ~Old Chinese Proverb (sometimes attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt and others)

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