• Stefan Youngblood

Peddling for Peace

The travel book said that the really cheap place to stay in Kolkota India was Hotel Circular. Almost directly across the street from the place I’d be working. Great! All I wanted was a quiet place of peace to chill. Instead, I opened the door after my first day to see visitors. Roaches…everywhere. They were crawling around the bathroom, in and out my shoes, and under the sheets. One even appeared to be sleeping on my pillow. At least someone found a peaceful place.

I walked over, looked out the window, and saw in the midst of all the taxis, pedestrians, buses and rickshaws, 2 women dressed in white robes with a blue sash. They were Catholic sisters walking to the orphanage started by Mother Theresa. Their smiles and their pace seemed to radiate peace in the midst of chaos. They owned basically nothing, earned basically nothing, but arguably, had everything. Attending their 6 am worship service (on the same busy street) I was amazed to find one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever experienced. I remember still hearing the constant drone of car horns outside the small chapel, but somehow it seemed so distant here, where God seemed so close. I’m certain that in the crowded dissonance of this noisy city, peace never moved…but I did.

Fast forward three weeks. Today I’m on a bike ride with my friend Jeff on a trail that passes through Raleigh. I’ve lived here for 10 years and never knew we had such a peaceful trail running just out of sight of all the busyness of Glenwood Avenue, Six Forks, Falls of Neuse, and Capitol Blvd. Under a canopy of trees, Jeff kept saying, “This is nice huh?” I agreed and kept peddling, amazed that such a place of peace has always been within arm’s reach (If I just slowed down enough to look) Besides the squeaky gears and brakes on my dilapidated mountain bike, peace was the most distinct sound. I’ve had much happen recently to try and rob me of peace. I wish I could say that as a worship leader who tries to point others to Christ, I always feel this constant flow of peace, but I don’t. You may feel the same way, so here’s a promise for us both. Peace isn’t elusive to us, we elude peace. Peace has been there ALL THE TIME. “My Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives. Do NOT let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 I guess I’m sharing this as both a confession and a declaration. A declaration that I KNOW peace (Jesus) is here, but confessing that I sometimes pay more attention to the noise and traffic that clutter my life. When the noise and the crowd was pressing in all around Jesus, the Prince of Peace let the crowd go ahead, and He broke away to a mountain to pray. One writer puts it like this, “Think about the people in your world. You can almost tell the ones who have been to his mountain. Their problems aren’t any different. And their challenges are just as severe. But there is a stubborn peace that enshrines them. They have a confidence that life isn’t toppled by unmet budgets or rerouted airplanes. They, like these two nuns, have a serenity that softens the corners of their lips. A contagious delight sparkles in their eyes. In their hearts reigns a fortress-like confidence that the valley can be endured, even enjoyed, because the mountain is only a decision away.”

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