Reflection for Sunday, February 13, 2022 by Mary Lou Edgar for the 6th Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C
“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”
How many times have we heard the words to this beautiful song? It stirs in us the need to find ways to achieve peace within ourselves, in our families, in our communities, and in our world. We share the sign of peace whenever we are at a liturgy. However, few of us rarely think of peace as being closely aligned with fear.
If we are feeling peaceful, can we be afraid at the same time? We are living in a world where fear is a constant and peace can sometimes feel unfamiliar. To make sure we can avoid fear and feel safe, we accumulate power and resources. Yet, power can give us a sense of false security.
How do we make working for peace more prominent in our lives rather than hiding from fear? One way is to pray for peace daily. Saying “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me” is a prayer. Does peace begin with me? Do we focus more on peace or on fear? When we feel powerful, we may lose a sense of trust about who we can truly have in our lives. However, do we always feel peaceful when we are with those we love? There will always be disagreements and strong words spoken at one time or another. However, we are more likely to forgive those we love. We forget that having time with special people can last forever whereas power is often transient. Power can be deceiving. It depends on what a person wants and how problematic it is to attain. It is not difficult to become embroiled in a power trap. People need to be firm in what they believe and equally firm in who they trust.
This year our grandchild gave my husband and me a gift certificate to dinner at her favorite restaurant so we “could spend more time together.” That is a true gift, a gift of time. The gift of time can be a beautiful prelude to peace. Peace is more than words; it is challenging work. It provides us with the opportunity to really know one another.
We must cease judgement and listen with our hearts. This is not always easy. We are all busy and often we miss small important things. Mother Teresa said that if you want peace in the world, go home and make peace with your family. It is a good beginning.
We must have faith and live by what our faith teaches. How does this impact our world? Did God promise we would never be afraid? No, of course not. Our world is struggling, but it has always struggled. When we hear of a threat, do we immediately become fearful or do we turn to God? We need to be strong and depend on what Jesus has taught us. We need to pray and focus on “What can I do to make this world a better place?”
The peace God promised does not mean we will never be afraid. What it does mean is that when we are fearful, we will have the comfort and support that only God can provide. Now we must decide, with whom do I need to truly share peace? An insightful Sufi master once wrote that, when the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be true peace on earth. Let peace truly begin with each of us!
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid.” –John 14:27
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Lou Edgar, MSS, is a clinical social worker who founded A Better Chance for Our Children, an adoption and foster care agency that works to find permanent homes for children in the foster care system. Mary Lou was the Executive Director of ABCFOC, but she is now retired. She graduated from Neumann University and Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research. She and her husband joined SsAM in 2021.