Dec. 3, 2010: Year of Peace, Civility Pledge are gifts to our community, by Sister Janet Lander

December 3, 2010 by

December has arrived, and so has the trickle of Christmas cards into my mailbox. A number of my cards each year bear the words, “Peace on Earth and goodwill to all” or the verse of angel choirs, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” (Luke, 2:14)

Do we believe it?

Belief is powerful. Jesus once claimed it could move mountains. Recently I did a search on Google for “The Power of Belief” and found more than 1,700 entries of related items you could purchase from Amazon alone! Scientists and counselors, preachers and poets are all telling us something quite similar, though from different vantage points. What we do with our minds, our consciousness, matters. Not only our actions, but the words we speak, matter for our own well being as well as that of our neighbors and the world.

The Institute of HeartMath has done research on the power of thought and word. Researcher Dr. Masaru Emoto exposed containers of water from sources around the globe to various types of music, the spoken word and words affixed facing inward on vials of water. Negative, violent words or music destroyed water crystal structures, making them look broken and muddy. But words of positive, peaceful, loving intention as well as folk music, classical music and the like caused stunningly beautiful crystals to form. In fact, prayer purified polluted water, which then developed crystals as stunning as any other pure water.

If this is true of water in a Petri dish, what possibilities might this hold for any water, or for us? After all, humans are 70 percent water. Thoughts and prayers for “peace on earth and good will to all” bring peace closer to reality. Thoughts are the seed for action, cellularly, intrapersonally, interpersonally and globally!

During the last 16 months, Concordia has been focused on peace, as we celebrated our Year of Peace. As this year concludes we might pause to see how we, individually and as a community, have been changed for the better. I believe it has made a difference: our thoughts of peace and peaceful thoughts, our discourse about peace and more peaceful discussion.

The Year of Peace Committee believes, though, that the work of promoting peace is not finished until peace is our way of life. So, we invite the Concordia community to journey with us into “Another Year of Peace.”

We begin by giving everyone another chance to sign on to a “Civility Pledge” for 2011.

Last December many groups and organizations circulated the Civility Pledge throughout Concordia. Then, in February, the Blade-empire published a full page of signers. In all, 244 Concordians signed the pledge and made the commitment to civility.

Wouldn’t this be a wonderful New Year’s Resolution for all of us? How would our lives be different if all of us pledged to be civil in public discourse and behavior, to stand against incivility when we see it and to be respectful of others whether or not we agree with them?

Signing the pledge can be a gift given to ourselves and our community in this season of gift giving. Living the pledge would be a splendid way to live ANOTHER YEAR OF PEACE.

For more information see www.civilityproject.org. Forms to sign the Civility Pledge are available until Jan. 15 in the following locations: Neighbor to Neighbor, Frank Carlson Public Library, the Chamber of Commerce and online at www.csjkansas.org .

— Sister Janet Lander is on the staff of Manna House of Prayer and is a member of the Concordia Year of Peace Committee.

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