Peace is a big topic when a nation is at war as we are. I remember a house in Florida that got all decked out at Christmas one year and wrapped itself in Mylar. People came from miles around to tour the grounds and look in wonder at all the decorations. As you passed through the gate you were given a CD and asked to write a prayer on it and hang it on one of the trees. The single most requested prayer was for world peace. We yearn so much for peace and yet…….sigh.
The other day someone asked me to pray for peace in his family. I had never before been asked to pray for that and I have been asked to pray for a variety of other hopes, dreams, wishes, pleas, and petitions. And, so I prayed with him for peace in his family. But, for me that prayer didn’t end there.
It occurred to me that perhaps this was the beginning of world peace. If we as singular human beings, living within the fold of a small group called “family,” can’t be at peace with each other, what is the hope for world peace among millions of people? We toss off our prayer for world peace in a sentence or two, a written prayer or two, without I think much thought of how we are going to accomplish that.
It starts, I believe, with your mother, your father, your sister, your brother. Be at peace with them. It continues with peace with your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and all of your step or half relations. When you can be at peace with all of them, then be at peace with your neighbors. Love your neighbor as yourself, Jesus said.
Well. now, loving my family is one thing, but loving that smelly old man next door, or that creepy woman in the house across the street? I don’t know. And that family down the lane with those bratty kids and the whacko grandfather. This is not going to be easy. It may be impossible. You must, however, try if you are sincerely praying for world peace. And you are, aren’t you?
And, then from family peace to neighborhood peace, we need to find peace in our village, town, or city. We need to make peace in our county, state, or country. Peace then can spread from country to country around the world, and who knows, in a millennium or two we might just have world peace. Maybe then we will find the wherewithal to end poverty and hunger and discrimination and corruption and murder and well, it might just be a fabulous world in which to live. At least it’s worth a try, don’t you think? So go, make peace with your family. It may be that small start that we need to achieve world peace.