Monday, 16 February 2015

Instruments of Peace

        President Barak Obama may not have had World Day of Peace in mind when he spoke on February 5. Regardless, his speech was a blueprint for how to approach the goal of peace-making. The occasion was the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast, an annual tradition since 1953.

The president asked an important question in his speech: "[H]ow do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities -- the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religion for their own murderous ends?"

Later, he said " [P]erhaps our greatest challenge [is] to see our own reflection in each other; to be our brother’s keepers and sister’s keepers, and to keep faith with one another. "

President Obama, one of the most powerful leaders in the world, spoke candidly of doubt and humility. He talked about the need for freedom of all peoples: not political freedom alone, but also freedom from want. He spoke of the underlying law, acknowledged by all religions and by those who have no religion but do have a sense of ethics and morality, "that Golden Rule that we should treat one another as we wish to be treated."

           Peace is threatened on so many fronts: in the Ukraine, in the Middle East, in parts of Asia, in parts of Africa. Even in places where  there are no open political conflicts, there are violent circumstances that challenge stability and well-being: Mexico, Venezuela, the Philippines, Russia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, to name just a few. President Obama challenged each of us to do something about that. He said to the diverse, international audience, "Whatever our beliefs, whatever our traditions, we must seek to be instruments of peace...."

Words are power. Words that are used correctly can achieve amazing things. The president's speech included many words that can contribute to peace. I've prepared a vocabulary of these words, and added a few more that may be useful. This vocabulary is titled "The Search for Peace," and you can find it at:

If you'd like to hear the president's speech, you can find it at:
If you'd like to read it, the text is at:

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