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Spiritual Matters

Mothers lead movement for peace

May 14, 2014 - As I write this article, we are preparing to celebrate Mother’s Day. My sons and I will be taking Mom out for our annual visit to the greenhouse for a selection of perennials and annuals that will bring the joy of color to our home for the summer. In our churches we will be honoring our Mothers with a breakfast, flowers and affirmations of love and support.

As you read this, Mother’s Day for this year will have past; so, now that the gift buying and card giving are done, maybe we can talk about what Mother’s Day was originally intended to represent before Hallmark got ahold of it.

In the wake of the Civil War when more Americans were killed than in all the other wars before and after, nearly 2 percent of the population, a call went out to Mother’s everywhere, “Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs… As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of council.” (Julia Ward Howe, 1870)

This movement towards a day of peace, a day for women to take council as to affect peace in our world, evolved into the suffrage movement which brought women the right to vote and to equal education.

Even though Mother’s Day became officially recognized as a national holiday in 1914, it had already begun to lose its original flavor and intent. The original advocates quickly denounced the rampant commercialization and degradation of meaning that followed.

Yet, women did win the right to vote and for equal education. And, the United States at least has not gone to war since without there being a national debate. We were slow to enter both world wars, entering only after we were attacked. The anti-war movement of the 60’s and 70’s took strength from these early advocates for peace. That movement has also evolved into movements for environmental and social justice making.

Peace is a noble cause, and even though one conflict ends another inevitably begins. Eventually we realize that changing things in the outer never produces a lasting change.

As Lao Tse wrote, “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.”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27) Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the awareness of an infinite, unlimited, eternal existence of life and love, God, active in your life; it is an intuitive knowing that Spirit is active in your mind, heart and body. It is a sense of Divine guidance, a confident assurance in Divine order and Divine timing, that all will be well.

“Think again, with a new level of understanding, for the Kingdom of Heaven is within your reach.” (Matthew 4:17) Heaven is a state of mind, a level of consciousness, an awareness and a realization of a greater reality than this three dimensional existence that we are currently participating in. Take time today to be holy, to realize your wholeness by practicing the presence of the Divine. You are worthy.

The Rev. Matthew E. Long is senior minister at Peace Unity Community.

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