Today, September 21, is International Peace Day. Working for peace and peace as the flourishing of creation, not simply the absence of violence, are frequent themes in my Ethical Musings' posts (e.g., cf. Bending the arc of history toward peace).
On International Peace Day, I commend three themes:
- Cultivate personal inner peace. The path to inner peace lies in learning to trust that with God's help all, in the words of Julian of Norwich, will be well. When things go wrong, when bad things happen, the person with inner peace faces the future with equanimity knowing that God holds the person firmly in God's hands. Some Christians have found that exposure to Buddhism has helped them to understand and to experience the possibility of genuine inner peace.
- Cultivate relational peace. The path to relational peace lies in learning to value and to respect all other persons, life forms, and things as God's creations. Some Christians have found helpful reminders about the possibility of relational peace in studying Confucianism and Taoism. I particularly remember a Chinese woman I met in London who had lived in Hawaii, been an Anglican nun, and had taught aikido. Her memory reminds me of the interconnectedness of the whole creation and that ultimately the goal of well-being and flourishing is achievable only when achieved for all creation.
- Strive to build global peace. The path to global peace lies in expanding the scope of inner peace and relational peace to include the whole earth. This entails both building alliances with others who share the same goal and becoming active in the political process. Building global peace requires individual and communal effort. Forsaking war is one vital step. Forsaking economic and political exploitation are two more steps. No one person or nation can take these steps unilaterally.
What would your life, your relationships, and the world be like if every day each of us took a step to incarnate those three themes?