One of my goals for this year is to spend time focusing on the core Quaker principles of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community and Equality. That is, I want to spend time contemplating those principles and striving to cultivate them in my life.
I haven’t been very deliberate about that yet so far this year. Lately it seems I haven’t had time to contemplate much more than getting chores done and dealing with all our new goats.
This morning I’m thinking about peace.
Peace, in the Quaker witness, means more than just a commitment to non-violence and an opposition to war (although it does include those things, of course). More than just an absence of war, true peace requires the presence of justice, of equality, of a recognition of our common humanity. It includes a sense of shared community, where all are valued and cared for. It is akin to the Hebrew concept of “shalom,” which means peace but also, more broadly, harmony.
It’s not enough just to find a way to separate myself from conflict. True peace, it seems to me, cannot be achieved in isolation from the other core principles–simplicity, integrity, community and equality.
There is peace that comes from nonviolence. There is also peace that comes from simplicity and integrity, and peace that comes from community and equality.
I like to imagine a world with all of humanity united in a shared commitment to that kind of peace.
May it be so.