On Peace


It seems like this is a bit…lacking lately. 
Both in my life and in the world around me. 
And a Sunday ago, I heard a great sermon from a pastor who used to intern at our church that I thought related to this topic.  He made the sermon on the rooftop of his hotel in Israel, filmed it, and broadcasted it to us in place of a sermon given by our normal rector. 
And I don’t know your beliefs, your morals, or political views… But I think his message can honestly be applied to people of all colors, creed, genders, beliefs, and faiths. 
He basically said that he has noticed the unrest in people lately, and wished that everyone could take a step back, refocus, reconnect with one another, and, essentially, find peace together. 
He mentioned a story of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha. Upon Jesus’ arrival, Martha was rushing around the house trying to be the perfect hostess while Mary was just sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to what he had to say. Martha comes over, however, and asks Mary “why are you just sitting here? Aren’t you going to help me? Jesus, tell her to help me get this pace ready!” And then Jesus speaks to Martha, saying (and I quote) “[41] ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, [42] but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'”
(Luke 10:41-42).  
And then the guy giving the sermon asked us to imagine that what Mary has chosen to do is to stop worrying, to stop running around with such haste and bother and just to sit down and look at what is in front of us… Be that a spiritual goal, family, blessings, or life’s simplicity.
Our sermon-giver then pans his camera over the Holy City, making mention of the walls dividing Israel and Palestine. He says that he’s confused as to why the walls exist, if for no other reason than a difference in religious views. He says that in times like these it’s important to break down walls, not build them up, that the key to understanding and acceptance and inner peace is to expose yourself to as many new and different ideas that you can, to either mesh with or compliment your own.  
I was able to apply his words to many aspects of my life: social media, social circles and social injustice, and of course, my faith. 
What if we could abandon our seemingly constant need to filter our lives and worry about likes and retweets and virtual attention, and instead focus on who we are, our unique qualities and what makes us each beautiful?
What if we could stop running around trying to please/impress people and instead, take pride in and listen to who we are, what we believe in, and not strive so much to be “cool” or build walls between people who are different from us?
What if we could stop being distracted and pressured by social constructs and instead focus on the fact that we are all human, with equal rights that should not be tainted by other humans? 
And it just made me think about the massive effects this mindset could have… If everybody were to expand who they were, via the interaction and sympathy with other people, people that are different from us. And if we were to put as much effort into tearing down* that we do building up (*walls and barriers in this case, because it’s important to “build others up” instead of “tearing them down”).. I just feel like we would have a much greater shot at peace than we do now. 
xoxo,
Steph 

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