I am the master of the worst-case-scenario. At night, well past my bedtime, I can imagine how Murphy’s Law might apply to almost any situation, and I do so with gusto. I have moments in the deep of night where sleep refuses to arrive, scared off by the free association run rampant in my head as my consciousness takes off on a marathon of wondering how some stupid thing I’ve said, or might say, will somehow avalanche into the apocalypse.
Of course, there’s rarely a need to fret like this. Things rarely turn out to be as dire as my half-asleep mind imagines. Often, events turn out better than I ever imagined possible. In my waking hours, I’m not that much of pessimist. But, for some reason, when I let my mental guard down at night I can see the glass half empty and draining fast.
Which is all just a long way of saying that peace of mind—inner peace—takes work. Practice. Intention. In the Tao Te Ching, Lao-Tse writes:
If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations, there must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities, there must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors, there must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home, there must be peace in the heart.
There’s a tendency in our culture to hear the word “peace” and immediately relate it to the idea of world peace—a beautiful goal, but all too often seemingly impossible. Peace begins within one’s own self. We can’t ask “the world” to accomplish something we cannot arrive at in our own hearts. We are, after all, an inextricable piece of the web that makes up the world. If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in the heart—difficult work, requiring continual practice . . . and the least of the steps we should be willing to take on the quest to build the world as it should be.
May we never cease to bring peace to our own scattered selves.
We approach the end of another church year. On Sunday, May 27th, we’ll begin our summer schedule, with a single service at 10 a.m. Two services and the adult forum will return in September. The worship committee and I are in the midst of planning the summer service schedule. If you’ve ever wanted to present a program, or have had an idea for a service theme, we welcome your suggestions and would love to have you take part in the summer season.
My “Summer Blockbusters” series will return for a fourth year, with four events spread throughout the summer. We’ll open up on June 2nd with “Dinner and a Movie Night” featuring this year’s Oscar-nominated Hugo—a film that quickly jumped onto my list of all-time favorites. Stay tuned for the remaining schedule, to be published soon.
See you in church.
Rev. John Cullinan