Rev Irvin Boudreaux
How many times have you sought to make peace with someone or even yourself? I would be willing to say that we have gone about this task many times. Unfortunately, we do not seem to be able to come to a lasting peace. That is because we do not understand where to start. Our minds tell us we must start with ourselves and seek a solution that we can understand. I am sorry to say that our solution will likely fail, and many times make the problem worse. Merton points very clearly at the way we must approach this in ordered steps. Peace begins with us, but the source is far outside of ourselves.
We seek peace with others by making peace with God. There are so many promises in the Bible that we receive the moment we make peace with God. Here are just a few:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. ~~~John 14:27
Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. ~~~Hebrews 12:14
If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. ~~~Romans 12:18
We begin our journey to peace by making our devotion to God our source of strength. Making peace with God means relying on him for everything. We get a strange sense of warmth and comfort when we turn things over to him. Suddenly, delightfully, we are no longer alone, and peace floods our souls. Let us look at those three biblical concepts of peace.
When God gives his peace to you it is radically different than the peace of the world. World peace is temporary and never given without a price that we must pay. We proclaim peaceful compromise, even forgiveness of offences, but we can never forget. All human forgiveness is merely clemency and not the true forgiveness of God. With true forgiveness comes a peace that surpasses understanding. That is the peace that only God can give. Once we receive God’s peace new avenues of opportunity come our way.
An important one of these opportunities is the ability to pursue peace. Every Christian should have the goal of being at peace with all. Without God’s peace in us, we are not even capable of pursuing peace with others. The word pursue means to chase. God wants us to chase peace with our brothers and sisters throughout the world. A sort of utopian peace is the pinnacle of the Christian life.
The writer of Romans gives us the charge and the reality of living life as a peace pursing follower of Christ. He tells us to expend all of the resources and energy that we can muster to live in peace with the world. A lack of peace should never be our choice. We must always do everything we can to achieve that goal. The ultimate goal of every Christ follower is to live peaceably with all.
Let us all try to make the lyrics of the familiar chorus become true. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me; let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.” We are called to do our part to lead this world to where God meant it to be.
Discovering the Sacred
The Christian must show every care and concern for the sick, children, guests and the poor, knowing for certain that he will be held accountable for all of them on the day of judgment. The Christian will regard all utensils and goods of the their home as sacred vessels of the altar, aware that nothing is to be neglected. The Christian should not be prone to greed, nor be wasteful and extravagant with the goods that we are given but should do everything with moderation and according to the leading of the Spirit.
~~~ The Rule of St. Benedict (paraphrased to apply to all)
Most of us, who are followers of Christ, desire to discover the sacred aspect of life. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to pay a visit to the National Cathedral in Washington DC. It is a magnificent and majestic building. The beauty and care of the building is most impressive. Massive stain glass windows, all with some meaning or purpose, adorn the Cathedral. While there I had the privilege of attending an intimate worship time in the basement Chapel. In such a place you can get a feeling of being surrounded by the sacred. Sadly, not all the things we do or the places we visit have such a outpouring of sacredness. Does that mean they are not sacred?
Perhaps we have let the world define what is sacred. We look at sacred as being something we cannot come near or touch. I beg to differ on that point. St. Benedict says, “He will regard all utensils and goods of the home as sacred vessels of the altar, aware that nothing is to be neglected.” Wow, the shovel, the hoe, the pots and pans are all to be considered as sacred as the chalice of consecration. I believe that is so. The simplest objects in our lives are sacred. The pen is a sacred object when we write the things that God has planted in us. The pot and spoon are sacred as we provide food for ourselves and those we love. The tools we tend our garden with are the objects that bring forth the fruit of God’s good earth.
Quite honestly, everything is sacred. We do not have to retreat to a majestic cathedral to find sacred objects because we are surrounded by them.
Allow yourself to be present with God as you go through your day. Look down at the pen, mop, lawn mower and know it is your sacred object as you carry out the work of your day. All things are objects of sacred creativity. We miss so much of God because we have confined him to a secularly designed box. Our God is everywhere and in everything. Take the time to encounter him and cherish every moment of your life.
All of our lives would be so different if we could discover the sacred in the ordinary. Work would no longer be a drudgery but a tool of blessing. Cleaning up after our toil would be a way of experiencing God as we wash dishes and clean our cars or bicycles. Everywhere we are and everything we do would become an altar of worship.
I know that this type of thinking requires us to rethink our lives, but it can bring great blessings. Let us pray that we can give it a try this week and perhaps we can of discover the sacred in our everyday life.