“Make peace with the present moment.” — Eckhart Tolle
“Make peace with the present moment.” — Eckhart Tolle
The last day of the year as we prepare to welcome in a brand new year full of possibilities always seems like the perfect time to pray for peace.
On this New Year’s Eve we pray for peace.
First we pray for peace in our own hearts where true peace in the world begins.
We pray for peace in our homes that our children may learn and live peace.
We pray for peace in our neighborhoods and communities that we may dwell together in harmony.
We pray for peace in our nation that we may see the divine nature in and celebrate the worth and value of each member of our society.
We pray for peace in the world that we may work together to create a world that works for all.
Hear our prayer Oh Lord, and grant us thy peace — And so it is, Amen.
“Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth.” —Menachem Begin
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This is a question on most of our hearts right now, isn’t it? So how do we stop the violence?
To stop the violence we have to stop being violent. Please don’t leave yet, hang in here with me and let me explain.
When we look at the violence in the world, both close to home and far away we see a huge overwhelming problem with what appears to be no solution. As long as we look at gun violence in this way there will be no solution. Violence begins and ends in the heart of each and every individual and peace really does begin with each of us as well.
So where do we begin?
Oh I am not being naive here. I know changing people is never easy, but we don’t have to change everyone. The only one i have to change is me. The only one you have to change is you. It has to start somewhere.
May our prayer in these turbulent times be let peace begin with me. Practice peace. Live peace. Be peace. — And so it is.
“Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them.” — Thomas Kinkade
In the early days of the Trump presidency I found myself beginning to get caught up in the “we have to resist” frenzy. Living in a rather remote area and travel being difficult for us right now kept us from rushing off to participate in marches, rallies and other forms of “protest.” So I participated in spirit. I prayed, meditated and “held the high watch” for those who were out there as well as for our country as a whole. But I have been uncomfortable with some of large public protests and the way they have been conducted. I have watched with concern as protestors have been called thugs and accused of everything from inciting violence, to looting, to unprovoked attacks to being rude at town hall meetings.
I have been silent on the tragedy in Charlottesville because I just didn’t know what to say. I also rarely comment on current events immediately. I wait for guidance and if it comes then I say something. Finally guidance came and I am now able to offer these words of hope and encouragement.
So how do we resist evil?
This is how we do it folks, by living the life of love, peace and light and refusing to be changed by the world around us.
“Religion is meant to teach us true spiritual human character. It is meant for self-transformation. It is meant to transform anxiety into peace, arrogance into humility, envy into compassion, to awaken the pure soul in man and his love for the Source, which is God.”
—- Radhanath Swami
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“Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all”. — George Washington
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“The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust.” —Isaiah 32:17 The Bible
I walk the middle path. It can be a lonely place to be. It can be a dangerous and frightening place to be, caught between two extremes at war with each other with verbal, spiritual and even sometimes physical shots being fired by both sides. But as a Christian who tries to follow the teachings and example of the Master Teacher it is where I am called to be, shining the light of God’s love.
So, what does walking the middle path mean for me? Well, it means being a Christian. It means not being an “Evangelical” or a “Progressive.” It means not being a Democrat or a Republican. It means not being “conservative” or “liberal.” It means believing that being “pro-life” does not end with the birth of a child. It means believing in protecting and caring for children once they are here. Protecting and respecting the lives of individuals with disabilities. Allowing and encouraging everyone to grace us with their gifts. And, finally, not playing God with end of life issues, either by extending life by artificial means or prematurely ending it.
Walking the middle path for me means believing that peace is not best achieved by war. It means believing that frightened citizens arming themselves too often ends in tragedy. It means seeing the Christ in everyone, no matter what they look like on the outside or where they came from.
The middle path demonstrates loving our neighbor, even when they seem unlovable (I struggle with this). It means recognizing that we are all in this life to help and care for each other and that life is not meant to be a huge competition with winners and losers and no middle. It means seeing justice not as vengeance or retribution, but rather doing what is right.
Do I always stay on the path Spirit has set out for me? No. I veer off course, first once direction, then another — right, left, forward, back and sometimes even up and down. If you could trace my spiritual footsteps it would be a mess. I allow myself to get pulled off course by fear, loneliness, old beliefs and anger. But no matter how far off path I may get I always have to come back to my true center. To that place where love, light, peace and justice exist.
And that friends is our calling. To live in the world but not of it. To rise above the hatred and confusion of our times. To rest in God and to shine our light. There is no brighter candle in the world than the one who, through it all, is able to live a life of peace through faith. That candle is found in the middle path where Christ still walks.