Peace Be Within You

Good Morning!

Sunday morning our youth shared with us a time of reflection on peace and justice. The Litany “ If Only…” started Like this “ Perhaps there would be justice if only…. If only all faiths could co-exist rather than fearing and competing with each other”. Then on Sunday night in Youth Group we watched a documentary about a young Christian man who lived with a Muslim family for 30 days. During that time he was to live like a Muslim, following their worship life, eating as they did, and learning about their faith. It was an interesting exercise! This morning I think about what is it that causes us to fear and compete with one another? Why is it that we are threatened by someone whose path to the Divine is different than ours? Is it because we do not understand the way of the other? Is it because we do not want to think that ours is not the “only” way? I think that perhaps it is a bit of both of these things and other reasons as well that I do not fully know or understand and as result of our fears we set up barriers. The barriers become lines of hate and mistrust and how sad that is! Imagine what a fuller understanding of the Divine we might have if we could allow ourselves to explore the many faces and understandings of God!

As a Christian, for me, Jesus is the one who most perfectly reflects the image of God and in whose footsteps I have chosen to follow. In His life I have found the blueprint for my life and his call speaks to my soul. The fact that there are others who find a different path does not negate my path. It does not even challenge my beliefs. What I have come to see is that by learning about other paths my own is fuller, deeper and richer. We have so much to offer each other and in our sharing the picture we have of the Divine becomes more complete. Doors are opened, insights offered, relationships deepened, and perhaps we might just have a better chance at being the people we are created to be. While there are many differences there are also many similarities and the sacred stories of each faith community have words of wisdom, hope, promise and joy.

In the Hebrew Scriptures it is written:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers. For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say “ Peace be within you” For the sake of the House of the Lord, our God, I will seek your Good.

In the Qur’an it is written:

And who could be better of speech than he who calls others unto God and does what is just and right and says : I am of those who have surrendered themselves to God. Good and evil are not equal. Repair the evil that is done to you with something better.

In the Atharva Veda it is written:

Peace be to the earth and to the airy spaces. Peace be to heaven, peace be to the waters. Peace to the plants and peace to the trees. May all the gods grant me peace. By this invocation of peace may peace be diffused. By this invocation of peace may peace bring peace. With the peace the dreadful I appease. With this peace the cruel I appease. So that peace may prevail, happiness prevail. May everything for us be peaceful.

From the Christian Scriptures:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

My prayer for us is that we might open ourselves to the richness that exists in the many faces and voices of God. May our paths be richer, deeper and fuller .



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