Peace On Earth Begins With Me

Peace. World Wide 

In 1955 the husband and wife song writing team, Sy Miller and Jill Jackson, penned the song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” about their dream to produce world-wide peace. Jill wrote the lyrics and Sy wrote the melody.

The song was first introduced to a selected group of teenagers in the summer of 1955 from different religious, racial and cultural backgrounds who attended a week-long retreat in California. They lived and worked together in a camp setting, engaging in discussion groups to develop friendship and create understanding.

Sy  wrote that the teens “locked arms, formed a circle and sang a song of peace. They felt that singing the song, with its simple basic sentiment – ‘Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,’ helped to create a climate for world peace and understanding.”

“When they came down from the mountain,” Sy said, “these inspired young people brought the song with them and started sharing it. And, as though on wings, ‘Let There Be Peace on Earth’ began an amazing journey around the globe. It traveled first, of course, with the young campers back to their homes and schools, churches and clubs. Soon the circle started by the teenagers began to grow. Before long the song was being shared in all fifty states – at school graduations and at PTA meetings, at Christmas and Easter gatherings and as part of the celebration of Brotherhood Week. It was a theme for Veteran’s Day, Human Rights Day and United Nations Day. 4H Clubs and the United Auto Workers began singing it. So did the American Legion, the B’nai B’rith, the Kiwanis Clubs and CORE. It was taped, recorded, copied, printed in songbooks, and passed by word of mouth.”

Today, that song has been performed all over the world by artists and groups from every genre of music. We especially hear it during the Christmas season. Its message and theme is Biblically based.

When Christ was born the angelic chorus sang, “Gory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Lk 2:14)

Among the final words of exhortation that Jesus gave the apostles before going to the cross, was his promise of peace. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (Jn 14:27)

Following the resurrection, Jesus commissioned the apostle with a message of peace, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (JN 20:21).

In a world filled with the threat of terror at home and abroad, it may feel like Jesus’ promise of peace and the song writers’ dream of peace has been unrealized. Additionally, we see on the local news images of violence in our own communities, while we yearn for peace. When anger and animosity tears apart our homes and relationships, we ache for peace. When the devil sows discord among brethren and disrupts the unity of our fellowship, our hearts hurt and we pray for peace.

Where is the peace? Why is it lacking? And how is it attained?

The Bible says we must “pursue the things that make for peace” (Rom. 14:19) Peace begins with me. In my heart. My soul. My life.

Peace begins when we seek restoration with God and find justification by faith (Rom. 5:1). Peace is a personal responsibility. It the fruit of the spirit I must work to develop (Gal. 5:22). And “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those that make peace’’ (3:18). Right living comes first. Then peace. People want peace, but unfortunately are not always willing to pay the price.

Let the words of Sy Miller and Jill Jackson touch your heart and sink deep into your soul.

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.

 With God as our Father
Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take

 Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.

 Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

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