Spiritual Practice


Richard Lawton

Every Saturday morning, I walked from my home to the shopping center. Every Saturday morning, I passed a grizzled old man, coming the other way from the boardinghouse where he lived. He always looked at the ground and never acknowledged my existence.

Every Saturday, I greeted him brightly, saying, “Good morning.” Every Saturday, he acted as though I didn’t exist. His eyes focused on the ground; he didn’t react.

After nearly a year (count the number of Saturdays), without lifting his eyes, the man offered a curt “Mornin’” as he passed. I almost leaped for joy. We eventually progressed to “How are you?” before I left the district.

Peace is not just the absence of conflict. When Jesus said, as he so often did, “Peace be with you,” he was wishing for or conferring an inner peace, which would not be marred by ill feeling or conflict but would flow into the lives of other people.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Romans 14:19 (NIV)

Since I saw the man from the boardinghouse regularly, I could not be satisfied to have no relationship with him. Neither could I force myself on him. We took tiny steps toward each other, over a long time; but I like to think that through even those minute changes, we made the world a better place. Peace be with you.


PRAYER: God, fill us with your peace that overflows in friendship. Amen.

—from devozine (November/December 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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