In the midst of reports that tell of escalating conflicts in the world and in the cities of our own nation, I read Psalm 85 this morning, the first line of which sings: I will hear what God proclaims – the Lord, for he proclaims peace. How so, I ask, when hot heads and ruthless behavior seem the order of the day? Once again the antidote to the violence seems to rise up from the inside, manifesting in qualities and practices that call to us from higher consciousness until they reach critical mass and tip the scales toward peace. The psalm continues:
Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth and justice shall look down from heaven.
So it is ours to act with kindness, making sure that our sense of justice is founded on truth and a desire for peace in all things with no “tit-for-tat” thinking that spawns violence or resentment. This is not an easy path to walk when “wrong comes up to face us everywhere, never to leave us until we take the longest stride of soul we ever took,” as Christopher Fry writes (A Sleep of Prisoners). It seems the only way to achieve this state is to start with the little things of every day. What does kindness demand of us? Surrender of our ego and wish to control, perhaps? Letting go of our every whim in service to others, certainly. Kindness and truth, justice and peace. Breathe it in and out as a mantra – allowing the abstractions to become real and concrete inside of us until they cannot be contained and so are offered to the world.