SERMON: Together In Freedom And Peace
If we reflect on the principles of freedom and peace, we should ask ourselves if these two fundamental ideals reinforce one another?
It was taken to an even higher level, furthermore, by the founders of the United States, when they constructed the American Constitution such that the principle of freedom was codified and protected within it in a whole range of ways.
Must one state precede the other?
We must identify the nature of 'free-being' and examine the parameters of a peaceful world so as to understand the potential relationship between these two 'experiences.'
Freedom, often expressed in terms of "liberty" and "sovereignty," has been a key tenet of Western civilization since the ancient Greeks.
Having peace as a foundation for our existence, both as individuals and as a community, is just as important to the "well-being" of humanity as is freedom. Indeed, they are linked together.
Pragmatically speaking, freedom creates a sense of stability within both the individual and the community. Let us align ourselves, therefore, with those who fear not the implications of greater freedom. When not regarded as sacred, the cosmic urge to be free often is quickly undermined in the interest of more "worldy" values (i.e. security, or material self - interest - think Nazi Germany).
Indeed, this stability is a type of peace, and thus freedom is critical to peacefulness. Furthermore, human beings have demonstrated a willingness to fight to remain free - and thus what is at stake is not only our inner calm, but calm at the level of society, too. Only a society that respects freedom (so long as one person's freedom does not impinge upon another's legitimate freedom) stands a reasonable chance of achieving lasting peace.
Peace is often associated with sensations like "happiness," "contentment," "joy," "harmony," "balance," and "homeostasis." Having peace as a foundation for our existence, both as individuals and as a community, is just as important to the "well-being" of humanity as is "freedom." Indeed, they are linked together.
Does one need to have achieved a state of inner or communal freedom before one is able to arrive at peace? The answer is primarily "yes." One must ultimately extinguish all unjust oppression in one's life or mind - that is one must achieve freedom - before one can arrive at a state of peace. Freedom is indeed a precursor to peace.
Meanwhile, one can experience "peace-of-external-conditions" and yet not "peace-of-mind." The contrary is also true: a person can be free within the context of his/her consciousness, even while being subject to "ill-will" or oppression externally. Thus, we have two types of freedom and two (correlating) types of peace: one type of each which is inner, and one type of each which is outer - and these two pairs of freedom/peace only sometimes occur together.
Such controversies of incarnation lead to the belief that while it is true that freedom procures peace, and peace enables freedom, most important is that we have the determination to attain all four mentioned states of freedom and peace (two - internal and external - for freedom and two - internal and external - for peace).
Then, and only then, can we be sure that our needs as human beings will be satisified.
Leave the rest to God.
Adapted from a Sermon by Daegan Sheehan as submitted to www.theCOOLgroup.org
A Child Is Watching
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.
When you thought I wasn't looking I heard you say a prayer, and I knew that there is a God I could always talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing, and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don't.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it, and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't feel good, and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's all right to cry.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
When you thought I wasn't looking I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.
When you thought I wasn't looking I looked at you and wanted to say, 'Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.'
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