Friday, May 4, 2018

Spiritual Journey First Thursday & Poetry Friday: An Evening of Prayer for Peace

Sorry to arrive late, but yesterday was spent prepping for and participating in a community interfaith event sponsored by the women's organization (Relief Society) of our local congregation. 
Violet Nesdoly is guest host for this month's SJFT with the theme of "special days." Our interfaith event was a special day that we've worked on for some time.

As we discussed the state of our world in one of our meetings early in the year, mention was made of the need to pray for North Korea. Others chimed in by commenting that many areas of the world need our prayers, including our own troubled nation. As women of faith, we decided to host an interfaith event to focus on praying for peace. We held it on the first Thursday of May, the traditional date for the National Day of Prayer. 

In addition to prayers offered, several poems were shared as part of our program. So I'm letting this post do double duty as my Poetry Friday post also. 
Head over to Friendly Fairy Tales
for this week's round-up of poetic goodness. 
Brenda shared a spring haiku & tips for writing haiku.
Thanks, Brenda, for hosting our gathering this week.

Here are two of the poems included in our program for the evening:

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.

Chinese philospher - Lao-Tse - 6th century bce

Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.
A Prayer for the World - Rabbi Harold Kushner - 2003

Part of my assignment (after sharing the Lao-Tse prayer for peace poem) was to include a call to action which I did by sharing Joyce Sidman's eloquent and stirring poem, "Starting Now." It's from her book, What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings. Thanks to Joyce for giving me permission to share the poem on this blog post.

Starting Now 

It is time for us to wake:
we who stumble through the day
with our gripes and complaints,
who drift numbly
through thronging halls and streets -

you and I,
who rant about injustice,
who see all that is wrong in this world
but believe we are shackled
and powerless.

It is time to look into
each other's faces,
we who glide along the surface,
time to dive down
and feel the currents
of each other's lives.
Time to speak until the air
holds all of our voices.
Time to weave for each other
a garment of brightness.

Open your eyes.
Feel your strength.
Bless the past.
Greet the future.

Join hands.
Right here.
Our moment:
starting now.

-Joyce Sidman

This is an event that we hope to continue in our community. It was a blessing to meet together as a community to pray for peace. 


  1. Ramona, how powerful all the prayers and poems you shared are. They speak to me because there is still negativity in the world where there should be peace. I leave you with one word today, "Namaste". Peace to you, Ramona.

  2. The words of Lao-Tse are wise indeed! Rabbi Harold Kushner's prayer is so powerful! And Joyce Sidman's poem left me speechless! I'm copying them into my journal. Truly, peace in our hearts is our only hope, the peace that is a gift from God.

  3. Wow, Ramona, I just love how your post directs our attention outward and inward. The three poems you share are so powerful. Thank you so much for being a force for peace in your community and here on your blog!

  4. I love the last poem - so very hopeful.

  5. Thanks for these powerfully moving poems Ramona, I especially like Joyce Sidman's "call to action."