There are so many places we could go in reflecting on peace and acting in the world with peace. How to walk with peaceful steps always to spread Grace and Goodness in the world. To walk and act as children of God.
We could reflect on how easy peace seems and how HARD peace actually is.
We could reflect on how we want to walk away and call that peace, that not making waves sounds like peace, that it would be easier…but knowing, in our hearts, that the hard work of stepping in is actually the way of peace.
We could reflect on how we can talk peace and point fingers where we see a lack of peace, but knowing that peace begins in our hearts with courage and kindness. Also harder than it sounds. That we have to do the work here, yes, right in our own hearts before we can even begin to bring peace to our homes…and beyond and beyond and beyond.
We could reflect on how Jesus walked the path of peace. We can reflect on how not easy that was. And how horribly beautiful.
Peace comes after the heart. We talked about purity of heart last week. We talked about how that heart work starts at home and then ripples outward to become our work and Good presence in the world. We have heart work to do and peace to spread. We have a world to change and a world to make better.
We know where peace is lacking. That’s easy to see. It’s easy to see where it’s not working and how it’s other people and other places. How they are doing it wrong. What’s hard is to see is where WE have to work on peace in ourselves…
What’s hard is seeing where there is peace or see the peace in that work is leading toward peace. Those doing the hard work of stepping in and speaking out that looks and sounds like agitation, but is work toward peace.
What’s even harder is HOW to bring peace. World peace. Peace in our nation…
What can I do?
When we look at the troubles of the world and come back to that question: what can I do? Does it bring you peace?
I think we have enough troubles. I think, perhaps, we should start from home, right here, right now. Ok, the yogi is coming out. Take a deep breath and come back home. I know you’re thinking about the troubles of the world and the troubles in your lives. I know, because I brought it up and there’s lots to think about. Come back home. Let’s start here.
We’re very not at peace. We can feel it all the way into our hearts and down to our bones. We’re very distracted from the things that bring us peace, so here are some things that can help us to start at the beginning. Ten things in an inexhaustible list:
Number One. Close your eyes. Breathe and reflect: what brings you peace? (pause to listen to your answer) Just stopping to ask ourselves this question brings a beginning of peace.
Number Two. The Church and Meetinghouse. This place that’s so familiar and comfortable. It’s full of good company. The people we care about. Take in all those sensory impressions of peace. It smells calm. The sights around us are calming. There’s nothing to do but sit and listen and reflect. This is a place of calm, of peace, in the chaos.
Number Three. Prayer. We reflected a lot on this last week, so we don’t have to spend a lot of time here. Let’s just pause and quietly repeat to yourself whatever prayers, or prayerful lines, or peaceful words, come into your head. (pause to listen to your words) Let those words bring you a sense of peace.
Number Four. Music. Music brings us the gift of peace.
Number Five. Our gardens. With each seed or plant we plant, it’s like we’re planting peace. We watch it grow and we nurture peace in our lives. Gardens are the quiet and the slowing down. You can’t rush or force a flower or a cucumber. It grows at its own pace and teaches us patience and joy. There’s something magical about a garden…even when the bugs are eating the potatoes and the rain has overwatered the strawberries. Nature and our gardens are like those little “love notes” from God. That’s peace.
Number Six. Helping someone who needs us. That brings us peace. Listening to someone else’s story when they need to be heard. Being with someone who is sick or sad or lonely and knowing that we made a different. That’s peace.
Number Seven. Quiet time. Perhaps with a mug of tea or cup of coffee or gathered together quieting our hearts and minds. That’s peace.
Number Eight. Sewing together. Knitting together. Cooking together. Working together. Planning together. That’s peace.
Number Nine: Folding our hands in front of our hearts at the end of each day and remembering each little blessing of the day. That’s peace.
Number Ten. A quiet walk, alone or in good company. It seems that a daily walk might be the balm that heals our relationships, our bodies, our minds, and perhaps it’s what could heal the world with peace.
It’s an inexhaustible list, if we remember to stop and remember. What brings you peace? (pause to listen to your answers; make time for something on your list this week)
This is our time to quiet our hearts and souls and remember that peace begins with us. It begins in our hearts and only then can it ripple out. When we are feeling weighed down by the troubles of the world, how can we possible spread peace? Cultivate peace in your heart and watch. It’s contagious.
This is not to say that we don’t have work to do in the world.
But not today.
Today, we will do our own soul work.
Today, we will do our own peace work.
And know that we are loved.