Morning Symphony of Peace
By Gary Piper of Fort Gratiot, MI, USA
Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. —Romans 14:19 NRSV
As I sat on the porch of our log cabin nestled in the Smoky Mountains of Townsend, Tennessee, I experienced Jesus’ peace in a new and deeper way. In the distance I heard a dog barking, then the sound of a crow. Bird song and a woodpecker’s sudden hammering on a tree trunk put a pause on the morning’s tranquility. We had a broad morning symphony of Creation’s peace.
As I looked through the trees I saw the morning mist hang in the air. If I had been down below in Townsend, it would have looked as if we were in a low-level cloud. Usually we can see the outline of a higher mountain from our front porch. The misty shroud adds a sense of mystery to the peace of Jesus and a reality that peace cannot exist without the presence of the Holy Spirit.
For many, peace is nothing more than the absence of conflict. Yet the reality of peace is that it doesn’t take anything from what we experience. Instead it adds to our experiences of the presence of the Divine. Peace does not remove conflict; it simply makes it powerless and through the presence of the Holy Spirit transforms it into a connection-building experience.
I am reminded of the times I’ve prayed, “Jesus, take this conflict from me.” And in response Jesus has answered, “Gary, instead of taking it away, let’s use it to deepen our connection. You’ll like that better.”
Prayer for Peace
Listening God, may we be listeners, too. May we listen to one another’s mutual need for understanding, finding common ground and peace.
Spiritual Practice: Pursue Peace on Earth
Read and reflect on Doctrine and Covenants 161:2a. Reflect on how you can “see violence but proclaim peace…feel conflict, yet extend the hand of reconciliation… encounter broken spirits and find pathways for healing.” What does the peace of Christ mean to you? Begin by prayerfully listening to your longing for peace. Prayerfully open yourself to God’s yearning for peace and the divine vision of shalom. What act of justice or peacemaking does God invite you to pursue this day? Dwell on these words of pursuit: see, proclaim, feel, extend, encounter, find.
Today, God, we put the din of the busy world on “pause” and listen to the peace of Creation.