Up at the Montreat College Conference this past weekend and still turning the theme of the weekend – the phrase – “peace bound” over and over in my mind – despite not liking the font they used for the icon and videos, which is a minor issue and neither here nor there.
It continues this theme of seeking and making peace this last year – something that has cropped up over and over in various ways in my life – like sacred echoes, divine ripples in the water, pulling me back to what is often glossed over as an easy endeavor, particularly in the church. Because what the church often engages as peace is the quiet or the absence of noise or chaos. But peace always, always needs to be tied to justice.
Bound as in pursuit. It’s a journey. It’s not a goal or destination, at least, on this side of heaven. It’s not a static state. It’s not a one-time deal. Being bound for peace is contextual, situational, and means a continuous turning-towards, a posture, an attitude that leans into it no matter what storms threaten to tear you from the road.
Bound as in promise. It’s commitment. Pursuing peace means committing to it, literally, binding oneself to it as a necessity. The fierce loyalty within peacemaking … Like it’s air and water and food, which is what it is for us as individuals and for the wider community.
Bound as in people. We are meant to hold each other up. To yes, worry about peace external, but also peace internal. To verbalize and articulate what are barriers to peace – stigmas and stereotypes, silencing and shaming, and all that pulls people to live skimming on the surface of their lives. Whether it’s mental illness or depression, whether it’s identity in terms of sexuality or gender or race, whatever hurt or pain, there is the possibility of peace through healing, and that needs to happen first. But, it never stops there. Inner peace without engaged work for justice becomes self-indulgent (@alexietfleming). The promise of God is that peace becomes real when we are deeply bound to each other.
Peace bound. We have models of it in Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and even in the unexpected and unlikely, in Ferguson protestors, and in poetry readings, slut walks, vigils, and marches, and when we gather together on Sunday mornings. It’s when flesh-and-blood cry out together for peace, to call out the absence or lack of it, to coax it out of the cloaked-darkness that tries to hide inequalities, disparities and discrepancies, and the truth that every human being was created for full and abundant life.
Bound for peace…what does that mean to you?