Wishing anyone peace nowadays can be a tough challenge. We only have to listen to or read the news about all the troubles in the world to know that peace is hard to achieve. So many people, so many agendas, so many virus variants, so many conflicts all make peace seem out of reach.
Wordsmith that I am, I got thinking about the word, “peace,” and the real meaning of that word. Consider this: “peace” is a lot like the actual condition of peace. It is a simple, one-syllable word that slides through our lips in a very easy, uncomplicated way. It has only five letters, but those five letters can help us figure out what is helpful to establish peace. I will elaborate.
P — Patience: We need patience with ourselves and others in order to work toward peace. Our world today does not promote patience in much of anything. It is a discipline, and practicing discipline is not easy.
E — Energy: Sometimes all of us get a bit lazy and let other people get involved while we sit out the problem. It is easier that way, and we can save our energy for complaining about the end results. We need to devote our energy and faculties purposely to work toward peaceful resolutions of difficulties.
A — Awareness: In order to promote peace, nonchalance is unacceptable. It is necessary to be aware of as many contingencies and factors as possible in any situation. Paying attention to detail with an openness to differences is important.
C — Christ: Of course, Christ, the Prince of Peace, has to be in our prayers and strivings. We can be quite vocal about our reliance on Jesus as we encourage others to trust in Christ’s love and assistance.
E — Empathy: Empathy requires a certain amount of humility and understanding of others. We all have weaknesses and limits. That is one reason why we hear that popular statement: “We are all in this together.” We read in Colossians 3:13:
Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
And in Romans 12:15:
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
In the Gospel of John, we read that the risen Jesus stood among his fearful apostles, although the door was locked. His first words were not a reprimand to make them feel guilty for deserting him. Instead, he said, “Peace be with you.” Then, after showing them his pierced hands and side, he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (20:19-20) So we see that the first words of the risen Jesus to his followers were calling for peace.
Our Easter season can be a calming time of peace. As St. Paul gladly proclaimed to the Gentiles in Ephesians 2:13-14:
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.
Jesus’ peace can bring all of us closer together. During this period of special rejoicing in the rising of Christ and the defeat of death, we have so many opportunities to pray for peace in our families, our communities, our government, and our world. There is no room in our lives for aggression, violence, and unforgiveness.
Risen Lord, help us to share your peace with the world, even in small ways. Bless us in this time of new beginnings and promising growth. Amen.
Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Upsplash
The Scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.