If you’ve been following these weekly small group ministry sessions I’ve been posting, you’ll know that I’m basing them on resources from Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat’s excellent website SpiritualityandPractice.com. The site is full of quotes, reviews, book excerpts, and tips on living a more spiritual life, and one of the things I like the best about it is that it’s incredibly up to date. Which means that if you’re looking for a quote that’s an oldie but goody on a particular subject, you probably won’t find it there. So while this weeks session on Peace is built out of those contemporary resources, I couldn’t help but offering one of my favorite meditations on peace by Lao-Tzu:
If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.
When you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.
— Francis of Assisi
An Excerpt from Imagine a World: Poetry for Peacemakers complied by Peggy Rosenthal
Peggy Rosenthal has compiled this collection of poetry for peacemakers for Pax Christi. Here is a poem on the spiritual practice of peace.
by Sarah Klassan
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who
announces peace. Isaiah 52: 7
Not something separate. Not
a convenient screen, a wall hastily fabricated
to keep a conflict’s blaze contained.
Or the self safe.
Nor something hammered out at tables.
And never sentimental, say a moonlit evening,
an incandescent sky. The Pacific Ocean
on a breathless day. You might as well
wage peace as war. You’d have to stand
exposed at the crossroads of unguarded anger,
a presence, not an absence,
not gritting your teeth. Forcing your clenched hands
open. Your heart’s hard core
and everything the stubborn mind conceals
you may become disarming,
the terror in your unmasked face
radiant, your unshod, wounded feet beautiful
Questions: Who is the most forceful and impressive peacemaker you have ever encountered? What did you learn from that person?
Check-out/Likes and Wishes
Peace and war start within one’s own home. If we really want peace for the world, let us start by loving one another within our families.
— Mother Teresa in No Greater Love edited by Becky Benenate and Joseph Durepos
To Practice This Thought: Whenever you get angry, vow not to add to the sum total of violence in the world.
For a PDF version of this small group ministry session, click here: Peace.
For more information on small group ministry, visit the UU Small Group Ministry Network.