The other day, I re-posted a paragraph or two about the differences between a pilgrim and a tourist. It is risky to live as pilgrim - it takes courage and faith and an openness to be led both internally and externally. Ultimately, with such a posture, the path opens to us and we begin to notice: All of Life is Sacred and All of life is Gift.
In my book, unhurryUp! into Easter: A Lenten Pilgrimage, I share the Pilgrim's credo that my own Franciscan Spiritual Director passed along to me. It has been a valuable, ongoing reminder to me of what is really most important as I walk with God in this life. Over the next few days - as we approach the beginning of Lent, I am going to share some thoughts about each of the five statements in the Pilgrim's credo. If you'd like to lean into this more, I humbly ask that you'd consider purchasing my devo in the Kindle store (by clicking the link to the right.) Today - we're on the fourth line of the credo:
I greet everyone with peace
I am not in control
I am not in a hurry.
I walk in faith, with hope
I greet everyone with peace.
Think back over the past 24 hours of your life...the people you've interacted with, known and unknown. Some are close to you - intimates, family, friends. Others are work or school mates or housemates...and others familiar acquaintances - like the clerk at the store or bus driver for your school kids. Some, have even been strangers...like...the one who pretended to not notice that you were grabbing for the last chocolate bar on the shelf and took it right out from under you. Yea. That. Or the stranger with a cardboard sign, hoping for some help and you (ahem, I mean I) make up a story in my mind how they are just lazy and should get a job.
If you're near a pen and paper - jot down the names of the people you've connected with today - even if you don't know the names and even if you talked to them on the phone or interacted with them via email/facebook etc. Unless you're a hermit - that's a lot of people isn't it?!
Now...imagine "peace" - what does it look and smell like? As you think about being "at peace" where does your mind "take you."? Settle in for a moment to that space with a few deep breaths. Now...bless each one of the names on your paper with that same peace...even if you aren't saying it to them directly...spread peace. Nice huh?
The pilgrim's credo was written by a Franciscan, Murray Bodo. And in the tradition of Francis, there were no strangers. Even the sun was greeted as brother sun and the moon as sister moon. Whatever you think of this, the man lived an effusive love and knew that part of his calling as a lover of God was to be a person of peace. As wild as the stories are - like talking a wolf out of terrorizing a city, or in hugging a leper, one whom he once detested - the spirit of this lover of God is still alive and well today. There are more books written about him than any other human who has ever lived (besides, probably Jesus).
What would it be like, today, to greet EVERYONE with peace?
- To the woman with the cardboard sign - you may not stop to give her money, but you can greet her (with or without words) with peace.
- To the grocery checker who is bored with his job - peace.
- To the guy who won't let you merge into traffic - peace.
- To your own self, when you are frustrated by how you feel not-enough - peace.
What would it look like to greet EVERYONE with peace. Give it a try for a day...what do you notice? Where are the space when it felt natural - unnatural? Easy? Difficult? Surprising? Normal?
I'd love to hear your discoveries in the comments below. And as always - peace and good to you and all whom you love.