Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of hearing a live performance of Karl Jenkins’ choral work, “The Peacemakers.” I pushed myself to go to the concert because a few years ago, I had heard another choral work of his – entitled “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace” – and it has been transforming my heart and understanding ever since.
There are 17 different pieces in “The Peacemakers”, each with a different text and a different musical expression. From the poetry of Shelley, the words of Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Celtic prayer, former captive Terry Waite, Mother Teresa, the Qur’an, the Bible, St. Francis, Martin Luther King, and Rumi – the words evoke a universal longing for peace and community. There is even a musical interlude, entitled “Solitude”, which – for me – is a reminder that we need time alone; time to listen and be present to ourselves and one another and God.
I didn’t know anything about “The Peacemakers”, but I had heard there would be a large chorus of adults and children, and an orchestra as well. I was not prepared to be so moved and so inspired. Nor was I prepared for the continuing prayer and creative wonderings since.
The opening song, “Blessed are the Peacemakers”, takes its text from the Gospel of Matthew. Blessed are the Peacemakers for they will be called the children of God. While the adult voices began, the children’s voices repeated the word ‘children . . . children.’ At that moment, the tears began to flow, and I began to wonder – what would it be like if we valued peacemaking enough that we included classes on peacemaking as core curriculum for grades K – 12? What would it be like if our communities and organizations – schools, churches, businesses, towns – operated within a framework of dialogue and decision-making grounded in practices like Non-Violent Communication and restorative justice? What would it be like?
I shared my thoughts with a friend, who put me in touch with an organization I didn’t know about – called PeaceFirst (www.peacefirst.org). Their mission? To create the next generation of peacemakers. So with PeaceFirst, and many other organizations and programs whose missions are to promote and support fruitful, life-giving relationships, I pray for peace. I pray to be a peacemaker. Shalom. Shanti. Salam. Peace.
Upcoming Programs and Events
Soul of Leadership: Taste and See Workshops
April 21 (9-3) at Rolling Ridge Retreat Center in North Andover, MA
May 10 (9-3) at Bethany House of Prayer in Arlington, MA
- Do you seek a community of leaders with whom you can speak freely, explore organizational values and dream big?
- Would you like to develop your leadership style through interaction with leaders in the forefront of energized and values-driven organizations?
- Are you looking to deepen your own spiritual awareness and resources to sustain you through leadership and organizational challenges?
- Would you like to develop communication skills that can guide your organization to better support and affirm all of its members?
- Do you sense the need for change to help you break through to new possibilities?
Join me, and Dr. Margaret Benefiel, for a day-long workshop to explore these questions using tools, strategies and resources we will be offering in our upcoming 18-month Soul of Leadership program. For more information, go to: http://www.executivesoul.com/taste-and-see-workshop
1728 Coffee House
The First Congregational Church UCC, Holliston, MA
Custom Blend in Concert
Saturday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m.
Life on Purpose
Weekend Retreat for Women Ages 20 – 23
with Paula Grieco, author of “Take 5 for Your Dreams”
June 6 – 8
Preaching in Worship
“And It Was Good”
Acton Congregational Church
Sunday, June 15 at 9:15 a.m.