Living Well


Peacemakers Cover.previewTwo 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 ( 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:


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”

Martha’s Vineyard

June 6 – 8


Preaching in Worship

“And It Was Good”

Acton Congregational Church

Sunday, June 15 at 9:15 a.m.



Living Well

How to Make Peace in the World

jooYears ago, while on vacation, I happened upon a framed quote that captured my attention. I stood and looked at it for a long time, trying to burn the image and the words into my memory. I was at the beginning of my vacation and, hoping to stretch my vacation dollars, decided not to purchase the quote – concerned I might find something else later in my vacation and be out of spending money before I got there. (Yes, yes – I can get controlling about this)

As you might imagine, when I got home from vacation and was thousands of miles away from the store that was selling the framed quote, (and I had some money left over), I realized that it felt important to me to purchase it. So, thanks be to the internet, phone calls, and international mail service (yes, it was in another country), I ordered and received this important treasure.

You see, the quote is an old Scottish blessing – and I love things Celtic. But more importantly, the words – for me – simplify the enormous challenge we all live with. How is it that any one of us can have any agency and influence toward bringing peace to the world? I’m not a politician or in the military. I don’t work for an NGO in another country. I’m not a doctor or a member of the UN. But, I learned, I have a daily opportunity to help bring about peace in the world. Here’s what I learned from the wise ones in Scotland:

If there is righteousness in the heart,

there will be beauty in the character.


If there is beauty in the character,

there will be harmony in the home.


If there is harmony in the home,

there will be order in the nation.


If there is order in the nation,

there will be peace in the world.


So let it be.

I have come to learn it is my daily, hourly task to cultivate righteousness in my heart. I will do it differently from anyone else. This is not self-righteousness, mind you. This, to me, is daily tending the garden of Love within, planted by God and nourished by the choices I make to cultivate that Love.

Each of us has this garden of love, of righteousness, within. So go – cultivate your garden – and make peace in the world.