For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” Psalm 122:8
For those of uswho identify as Christ-followers we must recognise that peace begins with us. We are called first to be at peace with ourselves, and then to be at peace with one another in the fellowship of the church community, then to be at peace with all.
That peace within ourselves and with ourselves begins in that difficult journey of knowing ourselves - of accepting the hard truths about ourselves, our tendency to live - in the words of Richard Rohr - from our ‘small self’ or ‘false self’: that place where our fragile ego dominates and we so often turn away from truly looking at that which motivats and controls us. This self is the place where we can only see in black and whilte, where dualism rules, and the full colour of being fully known, fully loved, and fully alive and aware are kept at a distance.
Then we are called to be at peace with one another. But how can we do this?
By letting go of ego and the need for control, and learning to live and work with, rather than against, others.
By relinquishing the obsession with ‘being right’ and allowing ourselves to negotiate and compromise.
By loving rather than dominating.
By forgiving rather than bearing grudges.
By laying aside the need to be seen as important, or influential, and learning humility and graciousness.
By allowing the Spirit of God to permeate our relationships, that they might be life-giving and life affirming.
By allowing the life of Christ to be our centre, not an institution or doctrine.
The way of peace is a difficult and daunting way - and is so different from the way that dominates our western culture where the need to be number one is prevalent. Allowing ourselves to leave behind those things which damage and disturb relationship, and being free to live openly, honestly, graciously with one another is the beginning of the kind of revolutionary peace that Christ called his followers and friends to. This is a dangerous and disturbing peace. This is a passionate, powerful, peace that will transform us and transform the world. This is the peace we proclaim at the Eucharist.