Tag Archives: pursue PEACE

PEACE, Best Achieved Alongside of Justice

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, February 29, 2016

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PEACE, Best Achieved Alongside of Justice

As I continue to ask people for their personal definition of PEACE, I am intrigued by the ones who have to think hard about the word or phrase they choose. Sometimes, taking a good deal of time for the answer. I am equally interested in the ones who immediately know what their definition is going to be.

Continuing the listening tour. I am traveling around in my efforts to pursue PEACE.

My friend and colleague from St. John’s Lutheran Church, Rev. Joe McInnis, invited me to attend the church he pastors, in Wilmette, Illinois. One of his parishioners knew immediately what his personal definition was, and he told me so!

An older man of definite ideas and opinions, his name is Peter Knobel. He told me PEACE is best achieved alongside of justice.

I told him how deep that point of view was! I asked him to elaborate. He said, “People sometimes associate peace with power and victory. A different vector of peace is alongside of justice. Like in South Africa, where for years they had a reconciliation and peace movement.” Peter considers peace and justice as closely connected. In his view, peace is best achieved using just and equitable means.

Peter’s words inspired me to think deeply. Yes, peace is an important concept. Yet, peace is out of reach for many people, throughout the world, especially in places of dissension, fighting and outright warfare. When Peter mentioned South Africa, I remembered several personal accounts I both read and heard of the troubles in South Africa.

Many people did not experience peace. Many people had horrible things happen to them, to their relatives and comrades, and to their homes and all they held dear. We cannot just wallpaper over those horrible, gut-wrenching, intensely agonizing events.

Yes, hurting people hurt people. Yes, hurting people need to be offered the place and the space to express that hurt, that pain, that anguish, that anger. And, yes. Hurting people can travel through their pain, through the muck and the mire, and come out the other side. Hurting people can journey the path of victim—through the possibility of justice, and out on the other side. They can identify as survivors. Finally—they can start that journey towards peace. Peacefulness. In large part, because of justice.

@chaplaineliza

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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE is Living in a Civil Union

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, February 28, 2016

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PEACE is Living in a Civil Union

Another day continuing the listening tour. Another day of journeying to various locations over the next weeks in my efforts to pursue PEACE.

I so appreciate Rev. Joe McInnis’s invitation to attend the church he pastors, St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wilmette, Illinois. I was glad I had the chance to worship with the congregation, too.

After the service, I had the opportunity to ask several people their opinion of PEACE. What is their personal view of the word PEACE?

One woman wrote out her definition, and then gave me further information about it. Mindy Davis considers PEACE to be “living in a civil union.”

In all seriousness, Mindy thinks the Chicago area—not to mention the United States—to be a more dangerous place than it was only ten years ago. “I am more fearful today, and not just politically. Much more so than I have been in my entire life. That is where I am right now. Things are not civil at all. People my age are going out today and buying guns. It’s very concerning.” Mindy thanked me for wanting to continue the conversation about PEACE.

Yes, I know—at least, partially—what Mindy is talking about. And, I feel badly that there is more fear, more anxiety, heightened security, and less PEACE than ever before. It breaks my heart to think that there are individuals who think so little of the well-being, safety and security of others. Incivility, to say the least.

These sad individuals are just that: sad, lost, in need of some kind of-something. Deep down, I mean. I realize each individual has issues and difficulties of their own. Yet, my heart breaks at the meanness, nasty attitudes, and sometimes downright violence that these individuals cause. Not only cause, but also escalate.

It warms my chaplainly heart to hear that people are concerned for this aspect of PEACE. I not only want to continue the conversations promoting PEACE, but also to be there to listen when folks express fears, anxiety, and even suspicion.

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for Your presence with me. Not just when times are good, and happy, but when times are scary, and evil, and sometimes even traumatic. You still come alongside of all of us. Each one of us, all of us have that opportunity to have You come alongside us. Just as King David said in Psalm 23, even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, You are with us. Thanks, Lord!

@chaplaineliza

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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE = Serenity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 27, 2016

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PEACE = Serenity

Continuing the journey today; continuing the listening tour. I am traveling around to various locations over the next weeks in my efforts to pursue PEACE.

My friend and colleague from St. John’s Lutheran Church, Rev. Joe McInnis, invited me to attend the church he pastors, in Wilmette, Illinois. I was so glad I had the opportunity to attend there this afternoon.

After the service, I had the opportunity to ask several people their opinion of PEACE. What is their personal view of the word PEACE?

Dave Rundell knew at once. He wrote it out immediately. PEACE = Serenity.

He has a ready smile and an engaging manner. He gave me a little more information about this definition. Dave referred to the Serenity Prayer as he was finishing up the sign with his personal point of view. “When I am walking in a right way with God, then I feel whole, complete.”

“Serene?” I asked. Dave grinned at me. “Exactly.”

I can relate. I know well the feeling that things in my life may be spinning out of control. It’s good that I can let go of the things that fall into God’s area of operations.

God willing, may there be serenity and peace in both Dave’s life and mine. Dear Lord, may it be so!

@chaplaineliza

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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE – Knowing Jesus is in Control

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, February 26, 2016

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PEACE – Knowing Jesus is in Control

The last day of definitions from Bethesda Worship Center in Des Plaines, and the last day I would sincerely like to apologize. There was a malfunction with my digital camera. Sadly, I was unable to take photos of the dear folks in Des Plaines on Sunday. I do thank Pastor Chuck Reid for offering his smart phone as a last-minute replacement! (My advanced-beginner expertise with social media is showing … in that I couldn’t get the dratted thing to send photos!)

However, I persevere. So, this is the last day—and the last definition. Today’s personal view of PEACE comes from Barbara Reid, Pastor Chuck’s wife. Barbara’s personal definition of PEACE: “knowing Jesus is in complete control of my life.”

As I talked with Barbara, she gave me a great expansion on that definition. “Jesus is God in the flesh; Savior, Master, salvation. Knowing that He, the Author of peace, is in control of me and of my life? That is truly peace for me.”

Sister Barbara said so many excellent things. She gave several outstanding words and phrases to describe what PEACE is, for her. However, I would like to focus on her expression “Author of peace.” Barbara is quoting from 1 Corinthians 14. The apostle says, “God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.”

That is truly peace. Not confusion, not disorder, but instead peace and orderliness.

What sprang to my mind after that? Nature. The animal kingdom, and the plant kingdom. The order found there, which is so sensible. So structured. So logical.

Dear Lord, thank You for order. Thank You for making certain that people have both rhyme and reason to their lives, their purpose, their very souls. I praise Your name and Your wish to communicate Your love each and every day. Great is Your faithfulness and love!

@chaplaineliza

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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE is Comfort

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, February 25, 2016

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PEACE is Comfort

Another personal definition from the Bethesda Worship Center in Des Plaines. And, another day for me to apologize. There was a malfunction with my digital camera on Sunday. I’d like to express sadness that I have no photos of any of the dear people who were so kind to pose with their personal definitions of PEACE. Thanks to Pastor Chuck for being willing to offer his smart phone as a last-minute replacement camera! (Sadly, my advanced-beginner expertise with social media is showing … in that I couldn’t get the dratted thing to send photos!)

Thankfully, I have the sheets of paper on which these dear people wrote their definitions! So, for the next few days—and definitions—I will be posting the sheets by themselves.

The next personal definition comes from a lady who describes herself as “the shyest person around.” Terri Fields’s view: PEACE is comfort.

Terri was shy and hesitant to speak (at first). However, once I asked her what her idea of peace was, the words came quickly enough. “Peace is comfort,” she said. “That is such an interesting answer,” I responded. “Tell me what that means to you. Why comfort?”

That’s when she told me how shy she was. Now she sings on the worship team in the front of the sanctuary. However, she is still amazed she got up the courage to do such a brave thing. Terri told me that her view of peace means being comfortable; ease and relaxed feelings. Not what she usually feels, at all! When she prays and asks God to help her to be comfortable and relaxed, it is then she feels peaceful.

Dear Lord, thank You for Terri’s view on peace. Please empower other girls and young women to feel comfortable in their own skins. Help me to be understanding and open in listening to others—especially others who are feeling shy and even overwhelmed.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE is Resting in God’s Plan

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, February 22, 2016

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PEACE is Resting in God’s Plan

Next person in my journey towards PEACE, today.

In my continuing efforts to pursue PEACE, I talked with several members of the Bethesda Worship Center in Des Plaines, Illinois, yesterday.

I had the opportunity to talk with a number of people in the congregation. One woman, in particular, gave her personal definition of PEACE considerable thought. After some reflection, this is what she said. (And, again, she was shy of the camera!)

Nancy Nalbandian’s definition: PEACE is resting in God’s plan for your life, even when your future seems very uncertain.

She elaborated a bit more. (I did tell her that this particular personal definition is quite definite. And, personal!) Nancy considers the most important part of what PEACE means to her is the resting part. Moreover, “PEACE is trusting that God will work everything out in due time.”

This definition necessitates a belief in a personal God. I have such a belief, and so does Nancy. I know not everyone who reads this blog has such a belief. What I am interested in is whether this kind of belief in God (or in a Higher Power) is helpful to a wide group of people.

God willing, this blog post connects and draws many people together. Please, dear Lord, hear our words and earnest prayer.

@chaplaineliza

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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE is Believing, Not Doubting

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, February 15, 2016

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PEACE is Believing, Not Doubting

Today is a special day. I am featuring a special family: Joe and Gladys Limmo, and their son Levi.

Members at St. Luke’s Christian Community Church in Morton Grove, Joe and Gladys are an integral part in the life of the church. Not to mention their son Levi! He is precious to the whole congregation, and daily evidence of God’s love, grace and goodness.

I wanted to highlight this wonderful family! And, Joe and Gladys gave their personal definitions of PEACE for this #PursuePEACE project.

Joe’s definition had two parts: first, PEACE is “no doubt.” Second, “but believe.” Joe said, “What is peace? Peace is ‘no doubt, but believe.’ I have a scripture reference, John 20:24-29. Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you.’ So, peace comes from God.”

Wow! Such a profound truth. Yes, in one of the first post-Resurrection appearances of the risen Jesus, that was exactly what He said. “Peace be with you.” I am sure Jesus’s appearance must have been shocking. I would imagine some of the disciples being scared to death. Jesus must have known He needed to reassure them.

Jerusalem was in a tumultuous time, right after the death of Jesus. No wonder the risen Jesus brought words of PEACE! And belief? Believing is the response to the words of Jesus.

Now, Gladys. Gladys was shy of having her photo taken, although she set right to, writing a definition of PEACE. She was shy to show her definition, too since she says she wasn’t very articulate in her writing. Gladys wrote “PEACE is obtain through God that you can keep within your self and your soul.” Both definitions are strikingly similar. God is operative in both!

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for Your expression of peace. Thank You that You are the way to peace. The Prince of Peace. We also thank God for Joe, Gladys and Levi, and pray that You will draw them closer together as a family. Thank You for your love for the Limmo family, and thank You for your gift of peace that is available to us all. Amen.

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@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Pursue PEACE – PEACE is Quiet

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 13, 2016

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Pursue PEACE – PEACE is Quiet

Quiet. Shh!

One definition for peace certainly can be quiet. Calm, serenity, peace. Yes, quiet.

This was the definition Celeste Magers gave to me, several days ago. Peace is quiet.

Many people pray and meditate as a regular part of their day. Celeste is a practitioner of meditation. This is what she says about how meditation informs her practice of quiet, which is foundational to quiet in her life.

“I’ve been meditating for over 30 years, and the style of meditation I use encourages inner quiet. If thoughts show up, I try not to latch onto them and run with them. I let thoughts flow on by – like light fluffy clouds in a clear blue sky. If I’m successful, after a while, the thoughts quiet down and stop intruding. And then I feel as if I’m immersed in a sea of peace and love. And the same is true of my emotions. When they are not in an uproar, when they are quiet, then I experience peace emotionally, too. So peace means quiet to me. I access peace through quiet.”

Celeste, what a wonderful explanation of how peace and quiet are so closely intermingled in your life, as well as in your practice of meditation.

As you and I come before our God, we can thank God we have the opportunity to calm our hearts as well as our bodies. I can feel the peace and quietude tiptoe into my emotions, my intellect, and my physical being—as well as into my spiritual self. Thank You, God, for such a soothing, calming experience. Gently breathing in—breathing out. Feeling my heart rate decrease, my thoughts become more serene. Thank You, God.
(Celeste Magers is a lecturer in meditation, healthful living, nutrition, and holds a laughter yoga certification. She is always ready to share about the power of laughter in healing and ministry.)

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Pursue PEACE – PEACE = Holiness

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, February 12, 2016

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Pursue PEACE – PEACE = Holiness

Intriguing thought! Peace equals holiness. I had to step back and think about this particular definition for a bit. Let it penetrate my mind and heart.

The name of the person I talked to? Chuck. Also known as Dr. Charles L. Reid III, Chuck’s personal definition of peace: PEACE = Holiness.

Chuck did not waste any time in coming up with his personal definition. He knew. He was sure. He is the pastor of the Bethesda Worship Center in Des Plaines. His definition came straight from the New Testament, from Hebrews 12:14. “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (NIV)

As I mentioned, I was quite intrigued by this definition. I asked Pastor Chuck to explain further. He said, “From what is given in Scripture as a guide for living, holiness should be an objective for our lives.  Therefore, PEACE = Holiness was what came to my mind when asked about peace.  The pursuit of peace and reconciliation reflects Christ’s ministry of bringing peace and reconciliation.  When holiness abides within, PEACE will live also.

Yes, I do agree. Excellent concept. Truly a worthwhile objective to strive for.

As for a moral compass and guide to living, Scripture is certainly a time-tested compass. Thank you, Pastor Chuck. I appreciate you and your example of pursuing peace and reconciliation, with holiness a big part in your life.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for this thought-provoking definition of PEACE. Allow it to work into all of our hearts and take root. Thank You for Pastor Chuck, his wife Barbara, and all of the congregation at Bethesda Worship Center. Help each of them to live at peace with their fellows. Dear Lord, striving to be holy is a large part of walking with You. Help Your works and Your words to accomplish Your purposes. Especially Your wish to have all people live in PEACE. Thank You, God!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Pursue PEACE – Harmony, Wholeness, Hope

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, February 11, 2016

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Pursue PEACE – Harmony, Wholeness, Hope

I have been following some sort of spiritual discipline during each Lenten season for the past number of years. As Lent got nearer and nearer, I had not been particularly moved by any special Scripture reading series or prayer discipline, as in years past. However—I have been intrigued by the idea of PEACE for several weeks.

Peace got lodged in my brain, and would not go away. I thought about it more and more, and finally came up with this idea of the Pursuing PEACE Project.

My name is Elizabeth, and my personal definition of peace is harmony, wholeness and hope.

Harmony – I have a bachelor’s degree in music. I have sung in a number of choirs and singing groups, over the years. Music is important to me! Harmony is something I look for, yearn for. Harmony between people, between groups, among families—something I wish to encourage and promote, as much as I can. Doing my little bit.

Wholeness – comes from the concept of the Hebrew word shalom, which means peace. Yet, it means much more than peace! Shalom can also mean whole or wholeness, completeness or safety. A whole basket of meanings! That is what I want from my definition.

Finally, Hope – expectation, trust or desire. (At least, that’s what Merriam Webster says, in part.) I am a glass-half-full kind of person. I have that expectation. I trust that peace is a possibility. I don’t think this idea is pie in the sky, but a realistic desire.

Even if my part is small, I will be doing something positive, encouraging, and loving in making PEACE a reality. God willing, I am doing what I can to pursue PEACE.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er