Image by Gregor Ritter.

The title is the opening lines of the song Peace on Earth by Jill Jackson and Sy Miller. Our troubled world cries out for Peace, as we witness the stories of those devastated by war, and the effects of climate change. It is easy to become overwhelmed with a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness. We are reminded in this song that Peace begins in each individual heart.

Pondering on living from a place of peace has drawn me to reflect on two icons of Peace.

Farid Ahmed is a Muslim who lives in Christchurch and whose wife Husna, was tragically killed at the An-Nur Madjid Mosque in the terrorist attack of March 2019 in Christchurch. Though grief stricken, his faith and beliefs enabled him and his daughter to forgive and in the weeks that followed, was profoundly able to say, “My heart will be loving”.

In a recent interview for the Tui Motu Magazine, he said;

Forgiveness allows your heart to be loving and compassionate – which is the best thing for you and for others.

We read in the Gospel the words of Jesus who said;

Peace, I leave with you, my peace I give to you. John 14: 27 RSV

We have within us this Peace… not ours but Christ’s to offer others in our lives either through prayer, through standing alongside those who advocate for Peace or by living with Peace in our hearts in our relationships.

New Year’s Day is also dedicated to Mary, a Woman of Peace. Her peaceful presence for me is manifest at the foot of the Cross. I imagine her utter grief, her capacity to suffer with her Son, to allow compassion and love to flow from her to the One who was in agony.

We are constantly reminded today of our interconnection with all of life. Feeling the pain of those in our world who are suffering through devastating war and its impact on their lives is one way of being connected. Experiencing another’s pain enables us to be filled with compassion.

This simple Breath prayer is a way we can walk in solidarity with those who are suffering.

Become conscious of people in our world who are suffering. Endeavour to identify with them… breathe in this awareness.
After some time allow your compassion to flow from you to them.

As you pray this prayer trust that your Compassion blesses those who are suffering.

We are invited as we begin this New Year to pray for World Peace. May the Peace that flows from forgiveness and compassion bless our world this year.

Lyndall Brown rsj