When I woke up this morning, the first thing I saw was a notice telling me that today is International Day of Peace. And I thought, wow, it hasn’t felt so peaceful recently. I thought about the recent bombings in New York and New Jersey just days after the 15th anniversary of the 911 attacks. I thought about this election season and the negativity and dehumanizing words that are being used in this horrific presidential campaign. (only 50 more days!) And I thought about the recent shootings of two black men, Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, while my heart broke all over again. No, things have not felt so peaceful recently.
And yet, we all have a source of peace within us. We are all peacemakers. As followers of the way of Jesus, we are called to look for and hold on to the love and peace we see in him. And we are to share this peace with others, especially those who are different than us. We look for peace around us; we dig down deep to access Christ’s peace within so that we may be part of God’s shalom – God’s healing and wholeness for the world. It requires courage and strength, but it is not beyond us. May we all be givers and receivers of peace on this day and always.
With you in Christ’s peace,
This week I discovered a measure of peace in the following writing by Naomi Shihab Nye that recognizes both the pain and kindness in the world.
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.