Jazz @ Emmanuel

April 14th – Instruments of Peace

Instruments of Peace

Through the readings and musical selections, this Jazz Service will explore how a commitment to Peace changes everything. Among the last words of wisdom Jesus had for his disciples was this: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Fear destroys Peace. You know it well enough. It is so easy to give into fear. In fact, if we are not afraid, we think we are not being realistic, or we are not doing our job, or we must not love enough, we are being too optimistic, or not humble enough, yada, yada. The reasons we give for giving in to fear are mere excuses, but they are effective. When we are afraid, we can think, say, and do crazy things or no-thing. When we are afraid, we often lose our ability to think straight or at all. Scientists call it falling into our “reptilian brain,” essentially a brain without a frontal cortex where all our rational thinking comes from, and instead, we simple “react.”

Think of fear like a ghost, it may have form, but no substance. Fear invents all kinds of scenarios to keep us anxious and distressed. We all know how compelling fear is. Some of us are so used to being afraid, we have forgotten how to be anything else. Peace remains elusive. Chaos rules our lives as “normal.” We may presume worst outcomes, become defensive, feel wrongly victimized, suspicious of others, blame others, feel justified to distance ourselves, or worse fall to hate and retribution. Indeed, there is no “world peace” without “personal peace.” Flight, Fight or Freeze are all normal human reactions to fear.

Fear is contagious. We’ve seen how it spreads on social media and how destructive it is. One person’s fear, founded on a perception of truth or possibility can quickly be picked up by another, and another. That’s why they call it “viral.” It infects our thinking and keeps us reactive and invites others to the same fate.

But it does not have to be that way.

Enter Peace.

When we start to get anxious, we have options. We can cry out to God! Tell him the truth about how you feel and what you are worrying about. Tell a friend. Journal your feelings. Meditate on the names of God. Read the Psalms. Go for a walk where you can focus on nature – a reminder of the bigness and goodness of God. Listen to calming or inspiring music. The important things is to not hold it in, where it grows bigger and farther from reality. And why let your behavior be ruled by fear?

Sharing is an important remedy as an instrument of peace. You’ve heard this: Friendship divides sorrow and multiplies joy. That’s why it is so important to find an instrument of peace, and become one. Others help us put things in perspective so we can distance ourselves from the emotions that can take over. They help us “keep the faith,” remind us God is with us. There is no real substitute for faith. When it is hard to find faith in crisis, we can turn a friend, a counselor, a priest, even a stranger. God has angels everywhere!

When we are at peace ourselves, we too can be instruments of Peace. When we are calm, we calm others. When we can have perspective, we can invite others to consider alternatives to their worst nightmare.

Peace calms the heart rate and restores normal breathing. The best part is we are able to think rationally again! Peace is its own reward. peace is inherently contagious, affecting every aspect of our being—our emotions, thoughts, spirit, body, and actions. Its influence reaches from individual to individual, as well as across nations, cultures, races, and ideologies, having the power to transform everything it touches. Peace changes everything.

Yet peace is more than the absence of fear. It is a deep and holy presence we call faith. It is beyond understanding, beyond everything mentioned here. It is the essence of God himself.

We can all be instruments of this same Peace. Seek peace and pursue it! Yes, peace can be elusive. But, it is worth the effort. It must be pursued. “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14. Put as much or more into seeking peace than feeding your fear.

Join us April 14, and be Blessed!

Receive Peace yourself, and then, give it away. It is closer than you think.

On April 14, our spirited readers and our jazz musicians, Dr. James Johnson, Jr. – Dr. “J” and company, will be sharing with us their God-given talents and passion for Insturments of Peace.

Come, receive, and then go and freely give.

Here are some resources you may find helpful:
Video: Instruments of Peace by Don Moen. Beautiful Video
Song: Instruments of Your Peace by Kirk and Debbie Dearman
Living Values – Peace Quotes to Inspire – curated by Leah Hall in countryliving.com
From children age 3-7 – Living Values – Peace. https://livingvalues.net
How to Become an Instrument of Peace –  Cylon George. https://www.spirituallivingforbusypeople.com/
Prayer of St. Francis

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The Second Sunday of the Month, September – May


April 14th – Instruments of Peace
May 12th – Opening the Closed Door

Summer Break
Jazz @ Emmanuel Resumes September 8th, 2024

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