Finding and Spreading Peace
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)
I was riveted to the television on Thursday night April 18. The people of Boston were on lockdown as the law enforcement officials were on a man hunt for one of the young men responsible for setting off explosives; explosives that shattered bodies and hearts and lives of many of those in Boston and beyond. The newscaster kept repeating over and over again the same information. Yet, I sat and watched. Maybe I continued to watch because I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing, just like I couldn’t quite believe the horrific scene of so many wounded people at the finish line of the Boston Marathon! “What is our world coming to?” I hear from my neighbors, my friends and family and the residents at Christian Care Communities - and I ask myself that same question. So many things seem to be out of our control! It’s tempting to fall into despair about these and other events and times of our lives. Yet, to do so, does not serve well the world or our neighbors and friends.
The world is filled with much violence these days, but we can do something about it. And certainly, in my opinion, the answer is not getting a gun to protect ourselves from the violence of others. (I wonder what Jesus would say about that idea?) Fostering a peaceful nature within oneself can do more than you think! Wayne Muller’s book titled “Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in our Busy Lives” encourages us to take the time we need weekly to find rest, renewal and delight. What better Season than Spring to do just that?! Have you taken in the beauty of the red bud trees, the dogwoods and forsythia, the tulips, the iris? Have you listened to the complete song of the bird in your backyard or neighborhood park? To develop a spirit of peace takes an attitude adjustment counter to this fast-paced, demanding, consumerism culture in which we live. It takes effort beyond merely attending worship on Sunday. Muller challenges us to adjust our crazy belief that good things come only through our determination and constant effort. We are tricked into thinking that we must have more! More money, more recognition, more love, more security, more clothes, etc. This attitude leads us to value things over people, and leads us to compete with one another rather than work together to make this world a place of peace for all – a place that truly ushers in God’s Kingdom Here on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Sisters and Brothers, let us “take the time to place our feet on the ground and allow it to feed us, to taste its blessings and give thanks.” (Mueller) Remember to keep holy the Sabbath – the whole day! Maybe it wouldn’t hurt us to turn off the television news once in a while and instead go out and share some good news in words and actions with our neighbor.
May God’s Peace fill you to overflowing so that it spreads from you to your neighbor, and then to their neighbor and throughout the ends of the earth. Amen.
Chaplain Joan Schlesing