Instruments of Peace

St. Francis of Assisi… Many of us associate him with his love and caring for animals. And that would have been enough.

He organized a group around renunciation of the the world’s riches… and so his friars were known as the begging friars… I’m not as interested in that… although an aversion to building up riches is certainly not a bad thing in an order! And as a result, they embrace the poor and are ardent workers for social justice. They also embrace the joyousness of creation and repudiate the notion of original sin. And that would have been enough. Any of these would have been enough.

But then there’s this lovely prayer that I focused on today. Those words are a wonderful gift. The notion that we should be instruments of Peace. So simple and so profound. So incredibly challenging. But we can be enough, if we put our minds to it.

We can be instruments of Peace. We can be Peace.



The Impartial Generosity of the Moon and Peace

On cloudy mornings like this one, it’s hard to remember the Moon, until we do.

Close your eyes and let her rise in your mind, stately and beautiful, silvering everything in her path. Sometimes the Moon’s kindly light allows us to look directly at things that seem to harsh in the Sun.

But every land is beautiful. Every place, every face a treasure in the sight of God. God doesn’t work for you? Try Creation. Fanciful? Maybe. Can it be less for us? Who are we to make that decision?

I’ve been troubled by this article on American liberals. I always imagined that seeing more would enable us to do more. Liberals often ask how conservatives can make the choices they do that seem not to be in their favor. Not so comfortable when we read we just apply things differently and make the choices we do without considering that they hurt other people. Being informed isn’t enough. We need to be congruent and heaven knows people need us to be.

I think of the moon’s impartial generosity — generous impartiality — and think why can’t I be the same? Why can’t I offer Peace in the same way? When I vote, when I give, when I think. So much food for thought… So much Peace to shine on the world.  I can only be like the Moon, but if i work very hard, I can be Peace.


Diamonds of Peace and New Pronouns?

Well! It is not easy to use these new pronouns. I can’t tell you how many times I read the posts to find whether I’d eradicated the he/she thing… Old habits die hard.

People have responded. Some have said, quite frankly, I don’t like the new pronouns, don’t want to change the language. Others, and this may have to weigh more with me, have said “thank you, I feel seen.”

As I said in my sermon, if I refuse to limit the Divine to a simple duality, why would I believe it’s ok do to that to people? If I see God in Everything, I am as Matthew Fox proposes not a Pantheist, but a Panentheist. So must I be with all creation.

And to those of us who fret about the language, this is what language does, it grows. We are, merci, le bon Dieu, not French in terms of language. We don’t have an academy removing foreign words from our language and forbidding their use. When we consider the words we have added, nouns, verbs and adjectives, thanks to technology and our new understanding of the world in only this century, why wouldn’t we think that people could be more than we had originally imagined? Because it’s hard? but zi-zir is simpler. Ten years from now, will it have lasted? Who knows, but if I don’t experiment, will I see people?

Thee and Thou is a much bigger stretch for me. Maybe because there has been a time when I have heard it used. However, I am deeply convinced by Buber’s argument that we leave behind an I-it relationship for an I-Thou one, that we engage intimately with the world.(Unbelievable, I just looked and there are SparkNotes for I and Thou). Buber is so dense that he’s difficult to follow sometimes, but at the heart of his work is an incredible reverence for creation. To move to the intimate form of address demands a deeper engagement — a deeper vulnerability. Can I go there?

It will certainly take some faltering. Is it to precious for words or is it what is asked of me — to be intimate with the world and humanity. To keep good boundaries even while welcoming people’s deepest humanity. It all sounds quite scary doesn’t it. Zi and zir seem remarkably easy, at least to me, compared to thee and thou.

I love that I explored this first on my friend the English teacher’s fabulous photos. She wrote when she sent it about how she always looks for fields of diamonds in the water. And she found it! But Pete has always had a relaxed relationship with English and loved to watch it evolve!

So here’s to sunlight sparkling on water. Here’s to the Peace and Joy it engenders. So many individual bits of dancing beauty. Can I see that and bless that? Can I allow Beauty and Love into the most private recesses of my soul? And how about Peace? Can I do that with Peace? What about thee? Can thee?