A different set of ‘commandments’

Part of what draws me back to the internet each day is the rediscovery of wisdom seen—and marked, partially studied, and partially applied—days, weeks, months, or years ago. The rediscovery keeps me learning and growing. Here is one such rediscovery:

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I always thought the angels were singing but the text indicates that the heavenly multitude were speaking:

Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” Luke 2:13-14 NRSV

It doesn’t matter that art and music have together explored the biblical scene in less than a literal way. This announcement is a scene of beauty that will not be exhausted by scholarship, poets, or artists. It is a mystery worth presenting, even knowing that our expressions are inadequate. But the announcement “on earth peace” is worth taking up as the 12 Days of Christmas progress.

Peace as used throughout scripture certainly means a resolution of conflict, an absence of violence and evil, but more importantly it means an abundance of life and life-giving moments and possibilities that thrill God’s creatures and God’s creation. And part of the truth revealed in the heavens and born on earth that night is this: God’s peace requires our understanding, consent, participation, and efforts,  It takes our flesh and blood and effort to be born anew each day.

As encouragement to be a peace-maker let me offer this wisdom for your consideration and action:

  • “Every act of love is a work of peace no matter how small.”
    Blessed Mother Teresa quoted on Gratefulness.org
  • “What I’ve come to learn is that the world is never saved in grand messianic gestures, but in the simple accumulation of gentle, soft, almost invisible acts of compassion, everyday acts of compassion. In South Africa they have a phrase called ubuntu. Ubuntu comes out of a philosophy that says, the only way for me to be human is for you to reflect my humanity back at me.” And he said, “You know, you can steel your heart against any kind of trouble, any kind of horror. But the simple act of kindness from a complete stranger will unstitch you.”
    Chris Abani quoted in The Writer’s Almanac for 27 Dec 2010.
  • The blessing I prayed for family and friends this Christmas:
    God grant you peace, to achieve peace, to radiate peace, to extend peace, to live in peace. Amen
    From The Open Gate by David Adam

Let us all give the gift of small acts of love and kindness today and tomorrow and the next day so that there might be peace.