Peace is important. Something we all struggle with from time to time. Things happen to us to knock us off balance and we lose our peace. We suffer a break up, face a break down, lose a loved one, a relationship blows up in our face, endure an illness, death and destruction bears down on us. Discontent lurks and stalks. Sometimes it only takes a little to knock us other times we persevere through more. When we need peace, we lack it the most. We feel heart sick, soul lost, and physically weary. We suspect if we could have some peace—just a little—we could face what overwhelms us.
Many have already suffered disappointment a few times, some new disappointment lays in our future, and maybe we are even in the midst of trouble now. We’ve been through break ups, death of loved ones, illness, and conflict with others. We have lost jobs, been looked over for job or promotion, a car that won’t start at night or in the morning, not get the toy we wanted so badly. Countless things happen to us in our daily lives that conspire to disappoint us. Something dark and ominous lurks on the horizon. Storm clouds are forming. The winds are blowing. It will be here soon.
We need peace.
I am not being a pessimist or depressive. I am neither of those things. I don’t want to get you down in the dumps. I am an optimist and believe that the best years are not behind us but in front of us that doesn’t mean that we will always be blissfully happy until we shuffle off this mortal coil. Things happen.
We all want peace. We must begin with our hearts and seek the peace we want there and extend it person to person until it encompasses the whole of the universe. Peace must begin with us, but doesn’t stop there. Peace must be a response to life in every moment. Peace is a smile, greeting a stranger, helping a hurting and needy person, passing on things such as knowledge, books, gifts, and time, sharing resources, and treating others how we ourselves would like to be treated. We cannot extend peace to others if their hearts are closed and fists clenched. If they are not ready or willing to receive the peace, we offer than we should move on not letting their unwillingness affect our peace.
There are symptoms of peace. Peace can infect us much like disease and I would like to share of few of them with you. Written by an amazing woman who called herself the Peace Pilgrim, she walked alone across the United States and Canada with nothing but the clothes on her back spreading words of peace.
A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences
An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment
A loss of interest in judging other people
A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others
A loss of interest in conflict
A loss of the ability to worry
Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation
Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature
Frequent attacks of smiling
An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it
I like them. I read them and want this infection to spread in my soul and to infect others with it too. An unmistakable ability to enjoy, a loss of interest in judging, conflict, and worry, and frequent episodes of appreciation just seems to be explosion of joy and goodness. Don’t you just want to experience and extend these symptoms.
Reading over this list, do you find yourself begging to be overcome by them?
I want to give in to frequent attacks of smiling and the last isn’t that how we are to respond to life. Each of those items is things we should pray for, cultivate and share with others. I want those things to be things people see in me that people are compelled by me because of them.
You could write them out, read them in times of stress, and seek to bring one of two of them into your life each day. It could be a challenge or spiritual practice. Shouldn’t enjoying each moment as they come, not worrying, showing appreciation, smiling, and extending love to others be part of our spiritual practice. You don’t even need to believe in God or be part of spiritual community to partake in them.
In each moment of our lives, we are to be a living sermon for the Kingdom of God. We are to be the kind of people who don’t just pay lip service to the love and grace of God found in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. We know that we don’t need to be perfect in order for God to work through us and openly express our desire to be the hands and feet of Christ in this broken world. We can let peace in and show peace to others. This is what it means to live in the Kingdom of God.