By Rev. Jeanne Randall-Bodman
"Today I am taking sides.
I am taking the side of Peace.
Peace, which I will not abandon even when its voice is drowned out by hurt and hatred, bitterness of loss, cries of right and wrong.
I am taking the side of Peace whose name has barely been spoken in this winnerless war.
I will hold Peace in my arms, and share my body’s breath, lest Peace be added to the body count.
I will call for de-escalation even when I want nothing more than to get even.
I will do it in the service of Peace.
I will make a clearing in the overgrown thicket of cause and effect so Peace can breathe for a minute and reach for the sky.
I will do what I must to save the life of Peace.
I will breathe through tears.
I will swallow pride.
I will bite my tongue.
I will offer love without testing for deservingness.
So don’t ask me to wave a flag today unless it is the flag of Peace.
Don’t ask me to sing an anthem unless it is a song of Peace.
Don’t ask me to take sides unless it is the side of Peace."
Rabbi Irwin Keller, Oct. 17, 2023
This year as the days shorten into November and the pleasure of celebrating Thanksgiving beckons, gratitude feels like both a gift and a discipline. There is so much that is both frightening and confusing in the news, so much harm and hurt in the world. It can feel selfish or self-indulgent to focus on gratitude while others are suffering.
But I am reminded by the words of Rabbi Keller and the teaching of Jesus that our work is the work of love and peace.
I find myself drawn outside, to finish the fall garden clean up, to walk the dog, to look at the sky, to ground myself in gratitude for the world God loves. And to be reminded that we can keep choosing love and keep choosing the side of peace.