Week 2: Peace
Good afternoon! Our devotional writer for today is Jan Quesada. Jan teaches in the Department of Religion here at TCU. Many of you are undoubtedly familiar with her great work across the university. She was recently recognized for that great work as a finalist for the TCU Ferrari Award this past academic year. Always kind and thoughtful, Jan truly embodies what it means to have a peaceful presence. And so, as we begin this second week of Advent, who better to speak to the topic of Peace? Jan beautifully reminds us through her words below that many faith traditions speak to the importance of peace. I trust you’ll find her words to be insightful and challenging during this second week of Advent. I hope you will find ways to practice and implement her wisdom not only today, but throughout this holiday season. Peace be with you…
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named…. Prince of Peace.
Shalom – Salaam – Peace. Rough synonyms, as well as standard words for blessing and for greeting one another within Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, these terms can reward our further consideration. On a university campus, a sense of wholeness, tranquility, and well-being—the biblical shalom—can be hard to come by during December. The seasons of Advent and of Hanukkah arrive in the midst of the end-of-semester frenzy. Projects and papers and exams need to be written and graded, even as holiday preparations demand attention. When a crush of obligations leaves us feeling fragmented, frustrated, and fatigued, the intentional quest for peace, both personal as well as communal, becomes imperative.
The New Testament Letter of 1 Peter urges Christians to “Seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:12b), chiefly through self-control, prayer, and good deeds. Peace, intriguingly, is presented here as an object to be sought, to be pursued.
Below I offer you some practices with deep roots in multiple religious traditions to consider as pathways toward personal and communal peace-salaam-shalom. Consider seeking them . . .
Through forgiveness—of ourselves, as well as others.
Through random acts of kindness and targeted deeds of generosity.
Through the practice of stillness, prayer, and contemplative quiet, in daily increments of 10-20 minutes.
Through overwriting harsh mental tapes with loving detachment.
Through the cultivation of gratitude.
Let us pray.
God of shalom, of salaam, of peace, open our hearts to your healing love; open our minds to your holy presence in each day. Make our lives holy by showing us how to find wholeness, that we may be bearers of your peace. Amen.