"Sunrise and Olive Branches"
- At the Desert Retreat House -
This morning when I got out of bed, I was greeted by the headline news that, at last a long-awaited “nuclear arms agreement” between the United States and Iraq had been reached.
While people of goodwill everywhere rejoiced at the significance of this historic deal, others were instantly critical, sure that this agreement has no chance of success, maybe even posing danger to world peace.
I really appreciated what the New York Times had to say this morning about the new peace agreement – they called it a “good start,” observing that Senior officials of two countries who barely spoke with each other for more than three decades have spent the past 20 months locked in hotel rooms..learning how each perceives the other.
As I see it, the seeds of peace have been sown – of course there are no guarantees that the agreement will hold but it is indeed “a good start.” Now it’s time to see if the seeds of peace can take root and grow. The old John Lennon song comes to mind:
All we are saying is give peace a chance
To me, the response of critics to today’s peace deal – from the outset giving it no chance of success - is very emblematic of how we often approach the process of reconciliation and peace-making not just on a world-wide level but in our own interpersonal relationships.
Unless we can guarantee that we can reach a “successful deal, ” we aren’t even willing to enter into a dialogue.
Each of us have our disputes with others, relationships get ruptured, war breaks out – and when that happens we often give each other the “silent treatment.” We are sure that the other person is in the wrong, but even more certain that there is little or nothing that can be done to heal a broken relationship. Furthermore, unless we can be sure of the outcomes of entering into dialogue, we are often quite unwilling to “give peace a chance.”
I’ve been thinking about something Jesus once taught about “sewing seeds of love” in the world. He told a parable about a farmer who went out into a field and scattered seeds “willy-nilly,” tossing them every which way, letting them fall wherever they might, some landing on fertile soil, some on rocky ground or on dry desert sand - hoping some of them might take root and grow.
The seeds in this parable are seeds of love and seeds of peace.
Jesus compared these seeds of peace and love to “mustard seeds” – tiny little seeds that can pretty much take root anywhere; and when a mustard seed takes root, it grows into a massive tree that can serve as welcome shade from the hot noonday sun.
Albert Einstein actually said something very similar when he wrote:
Keep on sowing your seeds for you never know which will grow,
perhaps they all will.
Who knows if a peace deal with Iran will take root? And, in our own personal lives, who knows if a possible reconciliation with an opponent might actually take root? But the seeds of peace can never take root and grow unless they first are planted.
This day when a historic agreement is reached between long-time enemies might be a great time for us all to make “a good start” in our own lives - to sew the tiny seeds of love even in the places we might least expect them to take root.
Give peace a chance!