Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tiny Assignment for World Peace (or at least a possible moment for happiness within.)

Cleaning my house this morning, and I came across this prayer, printed by Pax Christi USA: A Muslim, Jewish, Christian Prayer for Peace. I like it a lot. Turning then to words from Henri Nouwen, that arrive so faithfully in my email box every day, I'm struck by how beautifully these prayerful thoughts speak to one another.
I'm copying them below with this assignment: Cross the street, a border, a river, an ocean: and shake hands with someone new. Smile at them. Believe and trust in your heart that they are from God, created by Love, and that they have hopes and dreams, wants and needs, just like you.


Muslim, Jewish, Christian Prayer for Peace

O God, you are the source of
life and peace.
Praised be your name forever.
We know it is you who turn our minds to thoughts of peace.
Hear our prayer in this time of war.
Your power changes hearts.
Muslims, Christians and Jews remember,
and profoundly affirm,
that they are followers of the one God,
children of Abraham, brothers and sisters;
enemies begin to speak to one another;
those who were estranged
join hands in friendship;
nations seek the way of peace together.
Strengthen our resolve to give witness
to these truths by the way we live.
Give to us:
Understanding that puts an end to strife;
Mercy that quenches hatred, and
Forgiveness that overcomes vengeance.
Empower all people to live in your law of love.

Crossing the Road for One Another

We become neighbours when we are willing to cross the road for one another. There is so much separation and segregation: between black people and white people, between gay people and straight people, between young people and old people, between sick people and healthy people, between prisoners and free people, between Jews and Gentiles, Muslims and Christians, Protestants and Catholics, Greek Catholics and Latin Catholics.

There is a lot of road crossing to do. We are all very busy in our own circles. We have our own people to go to and our own affairs to take care of. But if we could cross the street once in a while and pay attention to what is happening on the other side, we might become neighbours.
- Fr. Henri Nouwen

1 comment:

Kat said...

I want to respond to an assignment, great teacher! But I see that no one else leaves comments. Or do you just keep them to yourself?

I want to respond to your assignment but I want to focus on time, and your assignment maybe doesn't have much to do with time. I have always prided myself in being level-headed, down-to-earth, stable. But time scares me, teacher. I have shaped my life so that I won't have much left over. Because extra time is like a black hole. What is to fill it? The black hole of extra time sucks things out of me...scary things like thoughts of despair. I have an extra afternoon and my complacent mind moves quickly to "I want to be loved more," "What is happiness and where do I find it?" and "Life is slipping away and I am not changing the world."
I envy your year of discovering yourself. I am in Illinois with my fiance (I'm engaged!) and I have all this time and it is overwhelming me. Why is there such a divide between my idealistic dreams (I want to develop special education in Uganda. I will never grow old and comfortable and conservative. I will love every single person I meet and understand that they are created by God and have dreams and are beautiful) and the reality of life that I live out? (sitting in coffee shops writing a thesis that will not change the world, rubbing by fiance's feet, eating)

Also, you are beautiful.

The end.

This is Kati from St. Phillip's by the way.