If you could buy peace at the supermarket or the mall, what would it cost? What would be a fair price? How would the price be worked out? Would ‘peace of mind’ cost the same as ‘world peace’? Or would there be some sort of sliding scale depending on the grade of peace, number of people, the impact on society and the type of peace involved – mental, physical, or spiritual?
But seriously, what is the price of peace? What does it cost to bring peace to this world, to society, to families, to individuals? The price, of course, is not a monetary one, but is much more complex, with many different aspects, at least to my way of thinking.
There is the aspect of time. To create peace takes time, there is no instant formula, no quick technological fix or app to download. This is because at the heart of peace is relationships and relationships take time. For it is only in the maturing of relationships that peace can occur, within the trust and respect to be found there, but that maturing takes time.
Another part of the price of peace is found in the need for honest mutual sharing, each giving and taking as necessary. This requires listening to each other and listening to our own hearts and souls. Listening with an openness of heart for what may be said (felt, thought), and a willingness and generosity of spirit to respect each other, even when this requires us to let go of our own cherished views (or at least be ready to accept that others views may be equally possible and valuable).
There is also the need to recognise and understand what we mean by peace, in the particular space, time, place and situation that we seek to create or bring about peace. When we understand how we define peace in the instance that we find ourselves in, then, and only then, can we set about creating the peace that we need and want.
There is also the need to understand peace in relationship to those other great concepts and truths – justice, hope, truth, freedom and love. These are (again to my way of thinking) interrelated in the very deepest core of their meanings, and it is impossible to have one without the others.
The price of peace is found when we all recognise the intrinsic worth of all humanity, that we are all created in the image of God and so present the face of God to each other. It is in this recognition of the fact that we are all human – despite our differences in looks, abilities, beliefs and values – that the seed of peace is sown in our hearts and minds.
Ultimately the price of peace is our willingness to accept all others, and ourselves, as they and we are.
2 September 2016
The result of accidentally writing ‘peace’ instead of ‘peas’ on my shopping list, and allowing the idea to stew in my head for a couple of weeks.