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A Prayer for Permanent Peace

June 3, 2012

I was born in the United States and lived the majority of my thirty years there and yet this past Memorial Day was the first time I learned of Congress’ joint resolution of 1950 that Memorial Day be a day to pray for permanent peace. I knew it wasn’t all about barbeques, good deals, and the go-ahead to start wearing white, but I’d always thought it was a day to remember those who have died in service to our country. It is that, but it is also a day to pray for an end to the conflicts that require these sacrifices.

There are legitimate complaints about the wording associated with the resolution, specifically the word pray, seen by some as insensitive to atheists. To be sure, the separation of church and state in the US is distressingly non-existent. That said, I think the intent of the joint resolution is a good one, and all Americans, atheists or believers, can and should take time to think about what they can do to promote permanent peace. For some this means praying to something bigger than themselves and asking for this to happen. For others who have no belief in something bigger, this means creating peace themselves rather than waiting on some higher power to do it. For me,(and I hope for all believers) it is a combination of the two.

World peace. It’s no small thing. A very daunting task, indeed. Where to begin? And how do we ensure that it is permanent?


A Prayer for Permanent Peace

May all beings everywhere discover the power of compassion.

May this compassion lead them to inner peace

May this inner peace radiate outwards to all whom they encounter

May all compassionate, peaceful beings everywhere demand change in our institutions

May it become unprofitable to glorify, downplay, or otherwise propagate violence.

May we become aware of the gross inequalities that exist in the world and seek to rectify them, knowing that there can be no peace where there is inequality.

May we all remain committed to the inner work required to pursue peace in the world.

May we support each other as we do this work without judgment and without expectation.

My all beings remain awakened to their true nature which is peaceable and loving.

May the power of our true nature, with the support of our community, remain more powerful than greed, ambition, and fear.

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