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We All Want Peace

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence."
The Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

During the worship service at my church this morning, we spent about twelve minutes in intentional silence...

... and it was wonderful.

Our pastor provided us with this opportunity to "enter into the presence of God for the sake of deepening [our] relationship with God alone." No phones. No books. Just a paper with two translations of Matthew 11:28-30 to consider.

For twelve minutes we sat quietly. The only sound was an acoustic guitar and an occasional cough. For some, this exercise was easy and for others it was likely quite difficult and uncomfortable. To sit in silence is so far removed from the norm of our culture, yet it is such a cleansing practice to experience.

It's no secret that the holidays can be a busy and stressful time if we allow ourselves to get caught up in the chaos of our family schedules, shopping trips, and celebrations. Let me assure you, however, that silence is indeed golden. The pastor of our church likened it to a chemical detox in that we need to cleanse ourselves at times of life's craziness and find time to "quiet our souls."

As perfectly stated in The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Amy Hollingsworth, "the thing Fred Rogers shouted the loudest was silence." Hollingsworth goes on to explain that Fred "knew that silence leads to reflection, that reflection leads to appreciation, and that appreciation looks about for someone to thank: 'I trust that they will thank God, for it is God who inspires and informs all that is nourishing and good,' [Fred] once said."

In front of a nationally televised audience at the 24th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Fred did just that. Accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award in a clip many of us have seen numerous times, he offers thanks to his family, friends, and colleagues...but only after requesting that those listening spend a moment in silence remembering those who have made a difference in their own lives.

As Hollingsworth said of Fred, "he used a noisy medium, television, to teach about silence."

With the heart of the holiday madness upon us, I encourage you to heed the example of Fred Rogers and be intentional about finding some time for silence. If you do, your mind will likely wander, but don't let this deter you as silence does not come easy for most. Ten minutes? Thirty minutes? Whatever time you've got. Turn off the TV and put away your phone. For those so inclined, enter into God's presence. For others, simply appreciate the respite from the noise of the busy world.

As the song goes...we all want peace.

Peace and Quiet | © 1968, Fred M. Rogers

Peace and quiet
Peace, peace, peace
Peace and quiet
Peace, peace, peace

Peace and quiet
Peace, peace, peace
We all want peace
We all want peace


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