Category Archives: #25daysofpeace

In Health

Do you remember the last time you were healthy?

I always forget what a blessing it is to feel and be healthy, until the moment I start to feel ill.  It is the contrast from healthy to ill that stands out and catches my attention.  When I am well, I am unaware.  I do not wake up grateful for health, I just wake up and move on with my day.   When I am sick, I can clearly note all the ways in which I do not feel well.  I then have to chose between getting started with my day, or making alternative arrangements for my original plans and intentions.

Of course, I am sharing from the perspective of someone who has a very minor cold.  So this inconvenience is but momentary.  Perhaps if I traveled backwards in memory, I can remember the feeling of being younger and more physically fit.  Those comparisons would probably be more telling than my current contrast.  Sadly, I find that I can’t really remember the wellness of my past with any real clarity.  It’s all seen through the amber-tinted glasses of nostalgic memories that play back in the eternal golden hour of my mind.  Again, on the whole, my life has been one of good health.  However, there are many people in this world who would not really remember what it was like to be healthy, as they have been struggling against a disease for as long as they can clearly remember.

My mother would have fit into this second category, as she spent 18 years with cancer overshadowing her life.  I never got the chance to ask her about it, but I wonder if she would have truly remembered what “healthy” felt like.   It seems it would almost be a blessing to forget being healthy, when you know those days will never return.  Again, I do not know, but I do wonder.  I do know, that for her, there were good and bad days, months, and years.  It was not a straight course downward from the moment of diagnosis, but rather her journey took her from the top of the mountains through ravines and valleys with the highs and lows associated with them.  Perhaps memory would simply fetch the most recent “good” time to compare to when it was trying to assess the current situation.  Do we forget what it was like when we were well?

I think we can forget what it is like to be healthy emotionally.  We find ourselves unhealthy for so long that we no longer compare our current feelings to true health, but rather to the day or week before that wasn’t quite as bad as the present moment is.  We forget that there was a time when our hearts and souls were truly at peace.  We forget those bright moments of fresh love, of crushes and romance.  We forget the joy that held us so completely when we first accomplished some great goal.  We forget the bubbling brooks of laughter that would overtake us when we spent time with a well-loved friend.  We forget the ecstasy of mud puddles and water slides, the feeling when your bat really connected with the ball, the moment you make a game winning catch.

We forget what it is like to be healthy.  We forget what it is like to be at peace.

In Joel we read that the years the locust has stolen from us will be returned.  We have been promised a restoration, a return to health and peace.  The locust will no longer oppress our thoughts, crush our spirit, or steal our joy.  The locust will be destroyed, and we will be renewed.

When we begin to test our thoughts, and seek to follow the will of the Lord, the renewing of our minds will transform us.  We will again be truly healthy.  We will again know the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.

Not exactly the peak of health, this one, eh?  

In Sickness

I’ve felt sick the last few days.  It’s nothing, really.  I have a cold, or a touch of the flu.  It will pass within a week almost certainly.  It has been hard to focus, and since I very rarely had headaches growing up, I’ve never really learned to cope with them very well.  A bit of nyquil and a bit of rest and I’ll be on the mend soon.  For me. my wife was the carrier of this particular malady, but I know how she came by it, and these things do happen.

It is easy for sickness to overtake you.  Viral and bacterial infections are built to spread, replicating themselves in some unwilling host until they find a new vector to expand into a new host.

In the same way, hatred and rage are diseases built to spread.  They often grow quietly inside of a host, waiting for a way to express themselves to the outside world, spreading as they do.    We’ve created new vectors, new disease paths for this hate to grow and spread, although we usually just call it social media.

My cold (assuming this a viral pathogen) is not cured by the medicine I take, instead the medicine is simply masking the symptoms while my body fights the infection.  In the same way, we often choose to hide our hatred in subtle ways.  We mask the fact that we are filled with rage in interactions with those around us.  It may look like we have been cured, but it isn’t so.  We’ve only hidden the symptoms of our true feelings.

In physical sickness, sometimes healing just takes time.

In this emotional sickness, we have to seek out help.  We have to purposefully choose to remove the infection from our lives, there is no automatic process.  There is no antibody for hatred.  We can not simply wait for our feelings to subside, as the disease still lurks below the surface.

God asks us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  He then has the audacity to ask us to pray for those who persecute us, to do good to those who harm us.   We are to return peace for pain, love for hatred.

It’s tough medicine.

Out of Time (DOP #25 2014)

“Time passes like a slow trickling stream, flowing continuously as the ill effects of unjust events find their way downstream to collect in an ocean of sorrow.  There are those who stand on the shore and do their best to alleviate the suffering they find collected there, but they are far too few to stop the inevitable rise of the waters.  They make a difference with each action, but they are losing the fight against the sin and destruction found in the world.  All around them dams break allowing water to pour over the edge until a group of peacemakers can rally enough strength to stop the rush of destructive water.”

Continue reading

Community (DOP #23 2014)

I might get to add a few photos to this in a few days, but I don’t want to spoil the surprises in store for those attending Dayspring Christmas Eve services tomorrow.  Check back soon!  

The last 2 weeks have been remarkably busy.  I went from being unbelievably not busy, to suddenly so busy that I basically didn’t see my family for 2 weeks, since we live in the same house, I think that might give you an idea of my schedule.  A large part of the busyness of my schedule the last 2 weeks, was related to it being the Christmas season and volunteering at church to help with Christmas Eve services and preparation.  I did the math and I think I have been at church for more than 11 hours of rehearsals, 14.5 hours of services, 9 hours of set/effect construction, and 4 hours of video production and editing.  That works out to about 38.5 hours of volunteering at church in the last 3 weeks.

The best part of those 38+ hours is the fact that I am not serving alone.  For each hour I have put in, someone else has put in at least one of their own.  From musicians to greeters, cooks to teachers, nursery workers to tech guys and gals, there are probably hundreds of people giving of their time and talent to help make our church services a reality.  I don’t know if I could ever really wrap my head around what it really takes for a church to function well during the Christmas season.

At church, my role tends to be primarily related to tech.  I sometimes troubleshoot weird lighting problems, help change batteries in microphones, and I occasionally help create videos or assist in minor set construction stuff.  Our level of technical production has greatly increased this year, and the ambition of the tech crew has really blown me away.  We are doing things that sounded cool on paper, but I did not really expect to see happen.  It has been pretty incredible.  I get to be a part of all of our services this weekend, and even though I know exactly what is going to happen, and when it is going to happen, I am still surprised by how cool it is.

I could never make all of these things happen by myself.

Even if I did somehow create an automated system that would automatically trigger all of our effects, lighting, and unmute audio channels, I can’t play all of the instruments by myself, and I certainly couldn’t be a greeter welcoming people into the service.  I could make most of the tech stuff work without any help if I had 3 months to program everything and nothing else to do with my life, but the show still wouldn’t go on.  It is too much for one person.  In fact, no one volunteer or even full time employee can pull off something so grand by themselves.  I like to think that I could manage it, but the truth is that there is no possible way it could be done.

This is the secret, and something we must keep in mind as we pursue peace globally and locally.

You can never make everything happen by yourself.

It takes a community of people, working together with a common goal to do anything of great significance.  In this community, we find people with different talents than ours, we find people with different perspectives than ours, and we find people who have different resources than we have.  These seemingly small distinctions between us are what make us stronger as a community pursuing peace.  An individual pursuing peace can achieve much, but a community pursuing peace can achieve more than the simple addition of our efforts would suggest.

In fact, I get to watch this exact concept play out with readers of this website.

Together, and as of this evening, we have raised $700  to bring clean water to people who do not have access to it right now.  I couldn’t have done that by myself.  I don’t have the resources on my own, but I did have a vision, and I shared it with a community of like-minded people.  Once I shared my vision, I donated what I could, but it fell far short of the ultimate goal.  I couldn’t do it on my own.  Slowly, but steadily, others (most of whom remain anonymous) have chosen to give their resources to the cause as well.  Others have shared our cause with friends or family, and still others will bring us closer to the goal in the days to come.  I do not know for sure who most of these people are, but they have chosen to act in community to help bring a taste of peace to a community in need.  I am honored to be a part of a community that is doing what it can to change the world.

I could have never done this much on my own.

The church I am a part of is made better by the combined service of individuals pursing the goals of the church.  In just the same way our little group of readers and writers here are better as a community that is united in a goal of peace.  Our church volunteers do not always agree on the what the best method is, and I am sure many of you do not agree with some of the statements I have made over the last 23 days, but we choose to put aside our egos in service of a larger cause.

It has been an honor to serve and learn with each and every one of you.

Lets share our visions for peace with each other, and pursue them together.

Want to join the community?  There is still time…and we would love to have you. 

A community of people, serving a community across the world, with love.

A community of people, serving a community across the world, with love.

#25 Days of Peace (An Introduction)