I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
a voice that speaks of peace,
peace for his people and his friends
and those who turn to him in their hearts.
(psalm 85 from Morning Prayer for the Feast of St. Francis)
I will hear what the Lord God has to say. Haring means more than receiving the sound. Hearing goes deeper than a passive experience. When I hear in the way the psalmist is claiming for himself I hear with the heart. I am changed by what I hear. I make what I hear my own.
And what a great gift it would be if I would open my ears to hear "a voice that speaks of peace." Rather than trying to create my own peace, my own separate heaven--I would enter His peace. As I pray this psalm, and I read these words, I prepare the ground of my heart for the blossoming of this peace, of this kingdom within.
The blossoming of peace has fruits that extend far outside my own interior realm. When I am at peace, and only when I am at peace, I can bring peace to the world. And the peace I can bring in such a state is not my own, but that of the Lord whom I serve. He blesses me with peace and hears me, not to shower His gifts merely upon me, but so that I may shower his gifts on all of His people. "Peace for his people and his friends." Peace first to those who spend the time to think about Him and talk with Him in prayer. But then also, "and those who turn to Him in their hearts." Even those who do not presently know Him by name, those who may not have become acquainted with Him in their lives--if they incline their hearts toward Him, He will see and hear and grant them also Him peace.
God cannot do other than grant peace. It is in His nature. It is part of what He is. You cannot encounter God and not reach peace. It is impossible to embrace Him and not be at peace.
If each of us were to give peace a chance to reign in our hearts, we would transform the world one person at a time. As my ever supportive wife said the other night when she saw my dismally wimpy results on the "Which General Are You?" test, "Perhaps if more were like you we would have no need of generals." I am not the example, despite her encouragement. Our example, our Peace and our Love, is Jesus Christ the Lord. In Him there is no shadow of turning.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17