O Young and Fearless Prophet

We sang this hymn in church this morning and parts of it really spoke to me. The words were written by Ralph Harlow, 1885- 1972 and the music was composed by John B. Dykes, 1823-1876. I have highlighted some of the passages that seemed especially poignent and timely to me.

O young and fearless Prophet
of ancient Galilee,
thy life is still a summons
to serve humanity;
to make our thoughts and actions
less prone to please the crowd,
to stand with humble courage
for truth with hearts uncowed.

We marvel at the purpose
that held thee to thy course
while ever on the hilltop
before thee loomed the cross;
thy steadfast face set forward
where love and duty shone,
while we betray so quickly
and leave thee there alone.
O help us stand unswerving
against war’s bloody way,

where hate and lust and falsehood
hold back Christ’s holy sway;
forbid false love of country
that blinds us to his call,
who lifts above the nations
the unity of all.

Stir up in us a protest
against our greed for wealth,
while others starve and hunger
and plead for work and health;

where homes with little children
cry out for lack of bread,
who live their years sore burdened
beneath a gloomy dread.

O young and fearless Prophet,
we need thy presence here,
amid our pride and glory
to see thy face appear;
once more to hear thy challenge
above our noisy day,
again to lead us forward
along God’s holy way.

Again, that highlighting is my own. Also be aware that there are a few different versions of the words to this hymn. What I have reprinted here are ones I found on the web, and not those exact ones we sang. I need to get a copy of Singing The Living Tradition, the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, I just havent’ yet.

Peace One Day

Tomorrow, September the 21st, is Peace One Day. There is a local celebration here in Charleston, and there are also events planned for all over the world.

Peace One DayJeremy Gilley, a British journalist, birthed Peace One Day in 1999. He set out to document efforts to create an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence with a fixed calendar date and spent two years traveling the world to make this happen. In 2001, Peace One Day achieved its primary objective. United Nations General Assembly resolution (A/Res/55/282) was unanimously adopted by UN member states, formally establishing an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on the UN International Day of Peace, fixed in the global calendar on 21 September-Peace Day. POD is a non-profit organization, impartial and independent of any government, political persuasion, corporation or religious creed. International Peace One Day information is available at www.peaceoneday.org. On a global scale, in 2007, on 21 September, 27.6 million people from 200 countries did something for Peace Day. In 2007, according to the UN, over 100 million people were active on Peace Day, in 192 countries. There were life-saving initiatives in 14 countries, and over 80 activities in Afghanistan alone where 1.4 million children were vaccinated against polio.

Peace is not just an idea, it’s a possibility. It starts with where we live, it starts with one day. Visit the Charleston site at http://www.bepeaceful.org!

Pick Flowers Not Fights

My daughter loves to tell her brother, “you should pick flowers, not fights.” In addition to that, she constantly gets on him about the video games he likes to play. In addition to the normal shoot-em-ups he plays on the PlayStation, he really enjoys military strategy games like Age of Empires on the PC. So, it really isn’t just the shooting and weapons that interest him, but the strategy and thought processes involved also. Peacemaker game

Wouldn’t it be nice if he could put that brain power to use in a game that didn’t promote warfare? Well, enter Peacemaker. According to the game’s website, “PeaceMaker challenges you to succeed as a leader where others have failed. Experience the joy of bringing peace to the Middle East or the agony of plunging the region into disaster. PeaceMaker will test your skills, assumptions and prior knowledge. Play it and you will never read the news the same way again.”

This game is not only promoting peace, but it is fun and interesting. Yes, kids young and old really want to play it. Much like other simulation games, your really get into it and your decisions and actions make a difference. Do it wrong, and things go wrong. Do it right, and things go well – at least for a while. There is a downloadable demo and a trailer so you can try before you buy.

Oh yes, another great thing? It is also available for both Windows and the Mac! Now that is building a bridge. Give Peacemaker a look and let me know what you think.

Where Do You Find Your Peace?

Unitarian Universalist CeilingI read this post on Steve Whitehead’s blog and it got me to thinking about inner peace and what we find peaceful. Then, as I sat in the Sunday morning service at the Unitarian Universalist Church here in Charleston yesterday, I began to consider it again. OK, so my mind was wandering a bit, but it seemed appropriate at the time. In the story from the above blog, the king says,

“peace does not mean to be in a place where there
is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to
be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in
your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”

I began trying to relate this to my own life. I must admit that recently I have been trying to find peace by finding a way to withdraw myself totally from the noise and trouble. What I have begun to come to realize is that I need to find my own peace, my own way, within that noise and trouble. If you look at many of the people we admire, such as Martin Luther King or John F. Kennedy or whomever, we admire them not because the extracted themselves from noisy and complicated situations, but because the were surrounded by those situations and yet had an inner peace that allowed them to rise above and transform some of that chaos into order.

Now I am not saying that I can do this on any of the order of magnitude of those gentlemen, but I don’t have to. And neither do you. What we do need to do is rise above the chaos in our own lives so that we can view it in such a way as to be able to make sense of things and take some control. Scratch that. Control is too definitive a word. We need to be able to offer guidance in situations that are beyond our control.

As I was writing this and preparing for another hectic workday, I pulled up one of my favorite blogs, Zen Habits. I try to do my writing and reading of blogs in the morning before work as it helps to focus my day. Anyway, today’s entry at Zen Habits is 17 Unbeatable Ways to Create a Peaceful, Relaxed Workday. How serendipitous, and a great way to start the day and the week.

So tell me, where to you find your peace, and what do you do to help create it?