What is the “this” when we sing or say “let this be a house of peace?” Written by Jim Scott but with inspiration from the life and works of Unitarian-Universalist poet-prophet, Kenneth Patton, there are immediately three possibilities. This is the local congregation that sings the song. Let this group of people who gather here in this place and live in covenant together be a house of peace.
Or, this could be the living tradition of Unitarian Universalism. In that context this is the way the philosophical and theological movements of Unitarianism (the belief that God is One and not Three in One) and the simultaneously moving stream of Universalism do a dance together. Universalism acknowledges both religion as a universal human quality and the universal teachings of all religions. Ultimately, all of humanity and the Divine will be reconciled. This could the be the way that these two movements are working to point to the possibilities for all humanity, united and reconciling over time.
If we take that one step further, this could simply be a powerful prayer for our world. Such a prayer is offered through the ideas, insights and vision of Unitarian Universalsim, but the object is the whole world, all peoples, religious people or not.
Let this be a house of peace.
I certainly hold this as a prayer for our world, and I acknowledge how unlikely it feels sometimes that this world of such diversity will be able to form itself into a House of Peace. All the more reason to make this my prayer.
I am drawn to the ideas and principles behind oneness and unity as well as the belief that if there is a Divine from whom human beings become lost that finding our way back belongs to all of us–in fact–is our destiny. I cannot conceive of a Divinity whose core is not a wide open welcome filled with compassion and mercy.
It is with my ongoing relationships in our local congregation that give me real hope of a House of Peace. Our congregation is not perfect, and we do not have everything figured out. In large part, I think becoming a House of Peace has come to mean for me the way we as a local community choose to take on challenges and work through the unknown and untried and hold each other as we face those challenges.
Which leads me to think that there really is a fourth thing that this might be. It just might be that I am the this. So are you. Let this life of mine be a house of peace. As I treat and care for myself. As I engage in relationships today. As I make decisions, decisions that arise out of knowing myself, being compassionate with myself, being thoughtful and asking questions, I am able to extend those things to others and invite them into my house of peace, build a house of peace together with me and begin to create that ripple in the universe that might just mean that the universe itself is this, too.
Let this be a house of peace.
A wonderful meditation! Thanks for this, Bob.
Rev. Roy Reynolds
Thank you, Roy.
Good morning Bob.
I have been meaning to reach out to tell you that I so enjoyed the service on Sunday and am glad that Peter and I finally had the opportunity to attend when you were serving as leader. There was much that you shared that has provoked thought as I move through the week, as your wonderful posts do for me each day.
Thank you, Deborah! Sometimes when I work on preparing a service I feel some inspiration. This time, it was just about where I am, and I think, many of us are. I am so glad it spoke to you. Thanks for taking the time to share.
Very well written.
More wonderful words, Bob. Let me remember to be a “person of peace” in this turbulent world!