We share a connection to all life
Judy Carman, Lecompton, author of “Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul” and “The Missing Peace: The Hidden Power of Our Kinship with Animals”:
Peace is a state of nonsuffering as well as a celebration of life. We now know from many spiritual teachers that we can make a choice to live in peace within our own hearts, that we can actually choose not to suffer and choose instead to live in gratitude and love. Not only that, but we are also learning that finding and claiming that peace within us is essential to creating a world at peace. Because all of life is interconnected, our fear, hatred and anger decreases the peace in the world, whereas our love, joy and gratitude increases the peace.
Why is peace important? Without it, the destructive tendencies of our species will continue to inch us closer to catastrophe. The Gulf oil spill is but one example. But we human beings, in our true essence, are capable of the most glorious and uplifting actions. We have the potential to create a world at peace and become what I like to call “Homo Ahimsa” — the nonviolent human.
But is peace only important to human beings? And can we end wars and human suffering without ending the suffering of billions of animals who die daily at the hands of people for food, skins, useless experiments, entertainment and other forms of domination? These violent and brutal actions must stop if we are to create a nonviolent world. As Albert Schweitzer said, “Until man extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.” We are connected, not just to each other, but to all of life. The animals and the natural world have much to teach us about peace, silence, being and celebrating life. We are immensely capable of creating a new, beautiful and nonviolent world for all who live here. May peace reign in our hearts and in our world for all beings everywhere.
Peace builds, strengthens and restores
The Rev. Kent Winters-Hazelton, senior pastor, First Presbyterian Church, 2415 Clinton Parkway:
Peace is the desire of every beating heart. Peace is the hope of every nation, the promise of every politician, the pulse of every religious tradition, the goal of every prayer. Peace is the bold, courageous and ultimate response to the notion that violence provides any viable solution for the conflicts of our world. Where war destroys and tears apart, peace builds, strengthens and restores. At the same time peace is personal, for each of us longs for security and tranquility in the face of the troubles, anxiety and chaos that often touch our lives.
Within our faith communities, peace speaks of a right relationship with the Holy, and with our neighbors and with the whole of creation. The word in the Hebrew Bible for peace is “shalom.” The idea of shalom begins when God calls order out of the chaos at creation, and it continues as God brings order to the chaos of our lives. Shalom is present in every story of reconciliation; reconciliation with the Holy One, reconciliation with our brother or sister, reconciliation with our enemy. Peace nurtures the hope of forgiveness, community and reunion with those with whom we share the planet.
The Taoist author Deng Ming Dao writes: The peace of one individual is small. The peace of many people together is big. When we see ourselves as separate from our community and from nature, then violence and strife arise. It is only when we understand our part in an overall unity that there is the possibility of peace on a large scale.
Let peace prevail on earth.