Peace Above All Differences

Since the Spiritual Life Center sign has been missing for a while (the post fell over and it is just a long story), our staff had a conversation about how to use our outdoor space. The idea of a peace pole to stand for our commitments to diversity, justice, nonviolence, welcoming of all people, acceptance of all faith traditions, and personal respect rose to the top of the suggestion list immediately. The new Peace Pole is safely tucked away in the Spiritual Life “terrace level,”  awaiting its new location in the front yard at 500 Brevard Street. Our Peace Pole has eight languages printed on it: English, Creole, Hebrew, American Sign Language, Swahili, Spanish, Arabic and Cree and a Braille plaque.

Last April, Anne Gibbons and I were literally hollering across the upstairs hall working on the annual calendar trying to pick a day to plant the pole when we realized that September 21st is International Day of Peace (http://internationaldayofpeace.org/). It’s the perfect time—and the United Nations program “Together” for Peace (http://together.un.org/) could not be more timely.  “The International Day of Peace (“Peace Day”) is observed around the world each year on 21 September. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.”

This year Spiritual Life is dedicating our new campus peace pole as part of the worldwide celebration. The phrase that jumped out for me in the UN materials is “peace above all differences.”  I can hardly imagine how different my own life would be if I put the common good ahead of my own petty emotions, my ego, and my need to be heard. Imagine if respect and concern for safety and dignity of others shaped our public policy instead of financial gain and greed. What if we made a worldwide commitment that no one would go hungry or that every child had access to education? We all know that this is naïve.  We are praying for folks in Texas and Florida. We are worried about Malawi, Haiti and India.  Ethnic cleansing in Myanmar and racial violence in our own state cause hearts to skip beats in pain.

I give thanks that there are so many on this campus who are committed to justice and the common good. I give thanks that our leaders speak out against hate. As a way to celebrate that we are all in this journey toward changing the world together, I invite you to come to the Spiritual Life Corner next week and help us celebrate a commitment to peace.

Cheyenne Prayer for Peace

Let us know peace.

For as long as the moon shall rise,

Let us know peace.

For as long as the moon shall rise,

For as long as the rivers shall flow,

For as long as the sun shall shine,

For as long as the grass shall grow,

Let us know peace.

Blessings, Stephanie

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