A Peacemaker Ponders Peace in 2024

What does Peace mean to me as a member of this beloved community of people of faith and philosophy?

I am a Peacemaker.  Since adopting that challenge, I’ve considered how to contribute to Peace and Peacemaking going forward. For me, Peace in 2024 means another year of working with respected colleagues, pondering who we are as people, individually and communally, and discerning possibilities for Peacemaking for living together in the Susquehanna River Valley.

Peacemaking starts with an invitation to be present. The first invitation is to yourself: Am I willing to show up fully to the possibilities and challenges presented? The second invitation is to welcome one another — acknowledging that they, however cautiously, are also there to contribute to Peace. It insists on recognizing where we are alike and honoring where we have differences. Our similarities will save us. Our mutual delights will encourage us to travel together along this Peacepath. We will notice our transformation. This awareness and acceptance molds us as Peacemakers.

Too lofty a goal, you think? Yet, I have seen Peacemaking in action in this Valley. Every third Thursday an interfaith group, once clergy grateful to be putting our faith to work, now a mixed group of people and organizations, gather in a gazebo in Sunbury to offer a warm meal, foodstuffs, home products, clothing and bedclothes to those in need. It used to be, we’d gather, we’d cart in, we’d set up, and then we’d serve. We regularly serve close to 100 people. Now, those served also serve. When we show up, those receiving help carry things out of cars, ferry them to the gazebo, and help set up the tables. After items are arranged, they shop. They shop, calling out to a neighbor whom they now know loves lemon meringue pie or a specific vegetable. They share and give thanks. They ask after us as we ask after them. This is love applied. This is Peacemaking. 

The poet E.E. Cummings described it like this:

“i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it”

This is what Peacemaking means to me – carrying your heart with me and never being without it. I invite you to carry your neighbor’s heart, and together, let us make Peace in 2024.

Salaam, Shalom, Peace, Blessed be. Let’s have a wonderful year.