Christ our PEACE

Twin Brothers in Nicaragua

Twin Brothers in Nicaragua

When I was reading the scriptures in preparation for Eucharist, this passage from Micah jumped out at me:

He shall take his place as shepherd
by the strength of the Lord,
by the majestic name of the Lord, his God;
And they shall dwell securely, for now his greatness
shall reach to the ends of the earth:
he shall be peace. (Micah 5:4)

Eight centuries before the birth of Jesus the Christ, Micah proclaimed peace. The Hebrew word shalom has a richness of meaning that is hard to capture in English—health, wholeness, well-being, Micah is promising us total peace when the Christ reigns. Continue reading

Filling the Hole in our Souls

We attended a presentation on Teresa of Avila on Friday at Valle Crucis Retreat Center with Bishop Porter Taylor, Diocese of Western North Carolina. Bishop Taylor introduced us to Teresa and helped us understand how the saints can assist us on our journey. It was unique because I have never known a bishop that was willing to go out and teach the people about adult spirituality. Thank you, Bishop Taylor, for being there for us.
Prior to the conference, I realized that I have slowed down. Spiritual reading is no longer speed reading; it is lectio divina—pondering sacred texts. The Institute for Continuing Learning seminar with Dr. Eric Dickman on the Language of God propelled me along the path. Here is my take on God language. God’s primary language is silence; God’s secondary language is poetry. How else can you describe the indescribable? What amazes me is that I think I am developing the capacity to understand poetry. Continue reading

Thoughts on Peace: Jesus, John, John Dear, Gandhi, James Douglass and Joanna Macy

Jesus of Nazareth, our Risen Christ

“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill. (Mt 5:22, The Message)


Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him? (1 Jn 3) Continue reading

Peace, Justice, Shalom, and PTSD

Dew Fell like Gentle Rain

I am the LORD, there is no other;
I form the light, and create the darkness,
I make well-being and create woe;
I, the LORD, do all these things.
Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above,
like gentle rain let the skies drop it down.
Let the earth open and salvation bud forth;
let justice also spring up!
I, the LORD, have created this. (Is. 45)

The Irish Jesuits have web sites called Sacred Space ( and Living Space ( Living Space is a repository of commentaries on the daily scripture readings from the Catholic lectionary. In my opinion, these commentaries have much more substance than many of the sites we encounter when we want to pray the daily scriptures. Continue reading

The Desert

The desert—place of renewal and turning your life around. John the Baptizer went into the desert and preached repentance. People who went to John in the desert expected to see a prophet, a messenger from God. They did not go, as The Message translation says, to see a “weekend camper” or a “sheik dressed in silk pajamas.” Continue reading

Peace, Healing, and the Creator

[Last night—June 29, 2007—I led the meditation at the healing service at Good shepherd Church in Hayesville, NC where I am engaged in healing ministry. I began the Soaking Prayer Service by reading from Daniel 3 adapted to reflect glaciers and Alaskan wildlife.}

Quaker Thomas R. Kelly wrote:

Do we live in the steady peace of God, a peace down at the very depths of our souls. . . ? It is a life that is freed from strain and anxiety and hurry, for something of the Cosmic Presence of God becomes ours.

This is the Cosmic Presence the three men in Daniel sing about amid the fires of travail. It is the Cosmic Presence which sustains us.

I do not know about you but when I read that God rested on the seventh day, I tend to think of creation as a one-time event. But that is not the case. All life and the universe flared forth from the Creator some 14 billion years ago.  And it is still flaring forth.

As I stood on the ice of the Meade Glacier near Skagway, Alaska, I stopped and looked. It was a graced moment. I was filled with a sense of wonder and awe. This was not an inert, dead piece of ice. It was a living thing ever changing. Walking about the glacier we found water roaring down and creating deep crevasses. The water rumbled. Maybe that is the way justice roars down. Creation is groaning to its fulfillment. The glacier itself, filled with ice worms, expands and contracts, freezes and melts. It has carved deep gorges as it dislodged huge boulders which now lay on its surface. I was filled with a sense of the power and the Cosmic Presence of God.

Glaciers, magnificent snow-capped mountains, a grizzly with her two cubs, a wolf, moose, elk, caribou, golden and bald eagles soaring and Denali—Mt. McKinley—rising 20,320 feet into a cloud laced blue sky—these all immersed me in the power and presence of God.

Denali--Mount McKinley 20,320 feet Click for bigger picture of Great One c. J. P. Mahon, 2010

I did not seemed to need to follow my usual daily practice of scripture reading and reflection. I was immersed in God’s primary revelation—creation.

Since I have returned I am seeing life differently. I delight in walking in the power and presence of God daily. I am living in the steady peace of God. Peripheral things seem to matter less.

Peace—shalom, salaam—health, well-being. Wholeness is ours because the Creator is still alive and at work. As Thomas Kelly says, “this is an abiding, enduring peace which never fails.” God is making all things new. God is healing us and making us whole. God is gifting us with peace, with shalom. God is wiping away every tear.

In the words of Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

The Seed and the Sower

In the parable of the sower and the seed, Jesus is teaching about reactions to his proclamation of God’s empire. God’s empire is the term biblical scholar Warren Carter uses to describe the kin-dom. I like the term because it is in direct contrast to empire—the Roman Empire in Jesus’ day and the American Empire in our day. Carter’s hermeneutics enable us to read Matthew in context and to apply the Gospel to our lives as disciples today. Continue reading