During a silent retreat, I walked along the Pitt River. It was a blustery day and a zephyr of wind swept a few dead leaves into the air. They danced there for so long–swirling, dipping, and cresting–that I began to wonder if they were moths. I followed them until each one rested on the ground. I stopped and picked up a dead leaf, half expecting it to fly away.
The leaf was dry and fragile. It had not had life in its veins for some time and yet a minute ago, it was flying.
I held the leaf and pondered its invitation to let the wind carry me.
As I walked and even as we shared at the end of our retreat, this invitation offered no specifics. But in the days that followed, I felt carried by peace.
I awoke at night, disappointed with myself for not having had more compassion in a certain situation. I felt repentant and was about to let it go when another thought rose to my defence. Now I really didn’t know what to do. But as I was held there, I felt reassured that it was all right not to know.
It’s been snowy and really cold. No one likes to drive when it’s like this, so our weekly Bible study was cancelled. I enjoyed a spacious evening at home.
At the Wednesday Lunch Club, “Bill,” who’s been sleeping outside in these freezing temperatures, told us he’s been unable to repair his camp stove. When my colleague and I went to the attic to get the spare we didn’t need, we found the fur coat “Kim” had asked us to hold on to for her a year or two ago. Kim happened to be there that day. The delight on their faces when Bill opened the stove and when Kim put on her coat made my heart sing.
And I know what it’s singing: the song we sang on Sunday night at the Lenten mission.
Peace before us,
peace behind us,
peace under our feet.
Peace within us,
peace over us,
let all around us be peace.
Peace is joy resting; joy is peace dancing.
Reflection questions for your Lenten pilgrimage:
- How does it feel to be carried on the Wind of God?
- Take a moment to listen to or sing along with the song below.
- Imagine the God of Peace before you, behind you and under your feet.
- Sink into the reality that within us, above us and all around us is peace, love, light, and Christ.
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At the Lenten Mission at St. Monica’s Parish in Richmond, Father Matthew Linn, co-author of Sleeping with Bread, taught us this song by David Haas. “Peace before us” reminds us that the God of Peace will be with us in the days ahead. “Peace behind us” reminds us that God was with us in the past. “Peace under our feet” tells us that God is with us right now, right where we are in our current circumstance.