Sept. 20, 2022 Who Will You Make Peace With?
International Day of Peace or “Peace Day'' is celebrated annually on September 21. It was established in 1981 by a unanimous vote to a resolution in the United Nations. Peace Day provides a shared date globally for all of humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.
Peace is an action word. It requires us to move beyond just thinking about Peace, and to commit to actively work together to bring Peace to our community and the world.
This week in Chapel and Spiritual Nurture classes at CCDS, we are talking about Peace as it relates to scripture and to our lives. Lower-grade students are hearing the story of creation and considering our responsibility to care for the world. Upper-grade students are reading the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. - Matthew 5:1-12
Our conversation begins with the idea of upside-down blessings. How are any of the things that Jesus is talking about a blessing? They certainly don’t seem to be. They are challenging to think about, and much like most of the things Jesus calls us to, even more difficult to put into practice!
Our specific focus is on the line, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” As we look at challenging situations we face at school and at home, we talk about the difference between peace (an action word) and quiet (passively ignoring disruption). The conversation includes problem-solving on how to address areas of conflict with respectful words and open hearts. We brainstorm ideas on how to enrich our school community by creating a space where everyone is cared for and valued, and the need for each of us to be an advocate for ourselves and for others. I love listening to the students make connections and grow in faith and in love.
One of the primary themes of Peace Day is, “Who will you make Peace with?”
Those six words encompass an enormous challenge for the students, one that applies to us as well. Making Peace with someone implies that there is strife or disconnection. It feels both aspirational and impossible. Yet I know in my heart that carrying that strife, or allowing a long-term disconnect, is exhausting.
As we consider the question, I find comfort in knowing that I do not need to do it alone. It says it right there in the scripture, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
God is always with us; in the joy, in the struggle, and even when we are doing the exceptionally difficult work of being peacemakers.
I invite you to join our school and church community as we celebrate The International Day of Peace. There are several ways to increase your family's participation. Peace is an action word after all!
- Walk by the school and chalk a message of peace on our sidewalk.
- Take your children to see the Peace Pole located by the church office on 9th street. It is inscribed with, “May Peace prevail on the Earth.” in nine languages.
- Make a list of moments in your family’s day. Read the list aloud and invite each member to give a thumbs up if they have a feeling of peace at that moment. A thumbs down means you could use more peace at that moment. Talk through the thumbs-down moments and consider how you can make changes that bring more peace to that time.
- Talk about the people that challenge you. Brainstorm strategies to bring peace to those relationships. Make an action plan to live into your ideas. Make sure you check back to see if it is working!
- Practice quiet prayer or mindfulness as a family. Bubble breathing is a great way to get centered in times of high stress. Breathe in as the fish rises and breathe out as it descends. Breathe together for one whole minute and then see how you all feel.
Your families are in my prayers each week. I invite you to join me in this prayer attributed to St. Francis.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that
we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Rooted in Love,