Learn more about who we are by following our blog, written by our pastor, preacher, and chief evangelist. Engage in the everyday sacred as Abby writes about the deep and ordinary all at once.
I went to a Mother’s Day tea at my son’s Montessori school. It was the usual delightful event—finger sandwiches spread thick with butter by little hands, tea poured ever so carefully by the older children, and handmade presents. I look forward to this tradition every year. This time, however, we did something different. At the close of the tea, children and their mothers gathered in a circle and shared in a peace walk.
The peace walk is a “work” that the children can choose to do as part of their day. It’s very simple: the children gather in a circle around a peace lily and take turns walking around it while holding a small flower. When they are done with their walk they hand the flower to someone else who then takes a turn walking, gently and quietly, around the lily. This goes on until all the children have a turn.
As I watched beautiful children walk carefully around the lily, each with their mother next to them, I was moved to tears. Why was this very simple act so peace-filled? And why is peace so difficult for adults, but so effortless for children?
I am not sure how to even write about peace. I know a few things about peace, like there can be no peace without justice and that peace takes active work to achieve. I know that love and generosity accompany peace. I also know too much about the opposite of peace: poverty, violence, injustice, addiction, broken relationships, and more. Yet these challenges seemed irrelevant as I watched mothers and children walk in a circle.
Great thinkers and leaders have dedicated their whole lives to understanding and creating peace. You can earn a masters degree in peace studies at some universities. Yet here, in a seemly insignificant school, children taught their mothers about peace without any words.
Isaiah 11 depicts a powerful image of peace where wolves and lambs lie next to one another and justice is central. Near the end of the vision the poet concludes, and a little child will lead them. I have nothing new, nothing articulate, nothing profound to say about peace. But I now understand why Isaiah said a child shall lead. Children understand the powerful simplicity of peace. That, I am certain, is why I was moved to tears as I watched child after child circle a lily and why, in that brief moment, I was sure peace was not an idea but a reality.
Rev. Abigail A Henrich (ehm!) is an ordained minister who earned her stripes at Princeton Theological Seminary and Colgate University. That said, Abby is really a mother-pastor-spouse who lives in a kinetic state of chaos as she moves from her many vocations: folding laundry, preaching, returning phone calls, sorting lunch boxes, answering e-mails, and occasionally thinking deep thoughts in the shower. Unabashedly she is a progressive Christian who believes some shaking up has got to happen in the church.