What is peace? How do we attain it?
This brought to mind a teaching that is older than Christian thought that comes from the ancient Chinese in a delightful book, The Tao Ta Ching. One of the verses (54) in this book is about what I call the ripple effect. It goes like this:
What is firmly established cannot be uprooted.What is firmly grasped cannot slip away.It will be honoured from generation to generation.
Cultivate peace in yourself,And peace will be real.Cultivate it in the family,And peace will abound.Cultivate it in the village,And peace will grow.Cultivate it in the nation,And peace will be abundant.Cultivate it in the universe,And peace will be everywhere.
Where does it start? It starts with each person, in their heart. What we have in our heart will ripple outward. It is like the light that is placed on the top of the hill or the ripples in a pond when we drop a stone into is smooth surface. When we have peace within it will shine or ripple outward, first to our family. Then, if our family is at peace, it will ripple out to our community. If our community is at peace then to our nation and so forth until there is peace in the whole world.
Isn't this what Christ came to teach us? Isn't this the way we demonstrate and live out His grace which is freely given to us? He calls us to examine ourselves, to repent, to purify our minds, to become united with Him the source of love and peace.
It all begins with love. Our love of God, and our love of others. But first we must have this love for God in our own heart and seek his grace. We must seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is with His grace that we have the kind of love that can bring peace within ourselves and then shine or ripple out to our family.
If we all examine our own inner selves and seek peace within, then each of us can become instruments of God's peace. Without this, all our efforts at peace are in vain. How do we do this? The Orthodox way of life is one proven way. Follow it.
Ten points for an Orthodox Way of Life.