Kum Ba Yah
This Land is Your Land
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
These are all songs we know; they are all songs of peace. And frankly, some of you might think they are over done and a little cheesy. People who want peace in this world get labeled as hippies, tree huggers, Jesus freaks. Sometimes I feel like one of those judgmental persons who rolls her eyes at the excitement of singing some of these songs. I've been singing them for my whole life and they are getting a little old. Some people think all peaceful people do is hold hands while they sit in a circle and sing Kum Ba Yah in their yurts while burning incense. I am here to tell you that this is a pretty extreme example of a person who wants peace, however I have often found myself in situations similar to this. There might not be a yurt or incense involved, but definitely hand holding and sitting in circles.
Today is the International Day of Prayer for Peace, and tonight my housemates and I joined several other Elginites at the Highland Avenue Church. We shared a meal and sang. We sang some of the songs that I sometimes label as "cheesy" or "over done". I admit it. But the message inside each song is timeless and important. We sang songs and enjoyed a peaceful and enjoyable evening with each other.
I believe International Day of Prayer for Peace doesn't get enough attention. It is so important. So many people in this world don't know peace. They don't know what it is like to be safe, to have freedom of education, to walk outside and not worry about being attacked. I believe it is a perfectly acceptable thing to want the world and all humans to know peace.
Think about it: when you get down to the bare bones of human existence, why are we here? Are we here to try and be better at everything than everyone else? Are we alive and on this planet to destroy each other to get to the top? Were we put on this planet to beat each other up and put each other down? I have no idea what God had in mind when we were created, but I can say with absolute confidence that God did NOT put us on this planet to kill. I believe we were put on this planet to THRIVE. To support each other. To use our individual talents and gifts to collaborate with one another and enjoy the life that was given to us.
Sometimes I get really sad; I feel that it is too late for the world and all its inhabitants to make things right. We are too concerned with money and things being "fair". We have gotten wrapped up into this terrible idea that if someone looks, believes, or talks differently than you then you should hate them. I like to think that it's not too late.
If I have learned anything in BVS, it is that diversity is the most beautiful thing in the world. I have made so many incredible friends this past year and a half that are of all different religions, cultures, and ethnicity. Just because I believe in Jesus doesn't mean I can't be friends with a Muslim. Just because I am attracted to men doesn't mean I can't hang out with my lesbian friends. Just because I'm a United States American doesn't mean I can't love persons from Palestine and Israel. Just because I loath Donald Trump and everything he stands for doesn't mean I can't be cordial to republicans who worship the guy. We all have differences. If we were all the same, the world would be such a dull and meaningless place.
So, for what it's worth, I'm asking you tonight to pray for peace. Whether you pray about bringing peace in your yourself or peace for the world: pray. Pray for people on Death Row. Pray for the refugees of the world. Pray for the military to no longer be needed in any country. Sing Kum Ba Yah if you want. Burn incense. Hug a tree. Wear your T-shirt that says "Jesus Freak". Remember: blessed are the persecuted. Just take a moment to pray for the peace this world so desperately needs.