Inner Peace, Outer Peace
Dec 23rd Sermon by Gloria Toot
If you can start the day without caffeine, If you can get going without pep pills, If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains, If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles, If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time, If you can take criticism and blame without resentment, If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend, If you can conquer tension without medical help, If you can relax without liquor, If you can sleep without the aid of drugs, Then You Are Probably The Family Dog!
Today’s world is filled war, conflict, anger, fear and hardship. It’s easy to become more worried and anxious every day as you face relationship struggles, financial problems, bad news, and grief. And at Christmas time life can be very stressful. Many of us are feeling sadness because of a loss or other family situations. Or worried about the bills we’re racking up. Or lonely. It seems to me that this time of year might be the hardest time to be conscious of inner peace.
“Without inner peace, outer peace is impossible. We all wish for world peace, but world peace will never be achieved unless we first establish peace within our own minds. We can send so-called ‘peacekeeping forces’ into areas of conflict, but peace cannot be opposed from the outside with guns. Only by creating peace within our own mind and helping others to do the same can we hope to achieve peace in this world.”
― Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Transform Your Life: A Blissful Journey
But how do we achieve inner peace? There are, of course, many web sites devoted to the practical aspects of developing serenity. Just a few of the steps I saw included: Leave nothing unresolved. Surrender and accept what is. Take full responsibility for how you react to others. Become aware and sensitive to feelings rather than ignoring them. Interestingly, much of what I read sounds a lot like the 12 steps.
The ability to achieve it comes only from God. I believe if we have faith in the
Lord, trust in the Lord and accept his grace into us then we will be more able to take the necessary steps to more fully feel peace within ourselves. In Phillipians we are reminded that the Lord is near. “Do not be anxious about anything…” it says “… And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds”
I am reminded of the serenity prayer which really says it all in a nutshell:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Inner peace essential in order to be peacemakers within our families, community and the world. We all search for inner peace. But we must also strive for interpersonal harmony, kindness and caring for others, acceptance of people different than us, striving to work for peace – be it in our family, neighborhood, or globally. Remember that, as we we often sing in our closing song, peace begins with me.
Now the children are going to demonstrate letting peace begin with us.
[ here two children perform a skit about two very “un-peaceful neighbors ]
What was wrong with this picture??
Well let’s look at some of the barriers to peace here. First there is jealousy. Next there is unfriendliness and name calling. What about nosiness? Not to mention selfishness, stubbornness and intolerance of differences. And who threw the first stone? This can all lead to violence, as you saw. Think of this on a global scale!
Now let’s watch and see how these same men would act if they were seeking peace.
[final act of skit showing positive peaceful interaction between these neighbors]
Amen and Shalom