How beautiful upon the mountain are the feet of the one who brings peace, says the prophet, and I would add “along the seashore, in the care facility, tn the church sanctuary, along the streets in the neighborhood, and in the shopping malls.” Too many feet are the bearers of bad tidings. The feet of the peaceful ones are, indeed, welcome, winsome and healing.
I am in awe of those this week whose feet are engaged in marches for reasons of peace–advocacy for DACA students, attention for the fragile in our world, and the strong, weary, persistent feet of the fighters of wind and flame here in Southern California, trying to save lives and home against the seemingly unremitting Santa Ana winds. When I hear footsteps approaching, I long for them to be the the steps of peace bringers, peacemakers, peacekeepers, peace seekers.
I kept company with my community of spirit journeyers yesterday in an Advent retreat, and for a few hours, we reflected on Christ, “the image of the invisible God,” as he walked this earth. Through copies of paintings of artists, we saw Jesus walking with his disciples on the Emmaus Road bringing them peace after their trauma at the crucifixion. We watched Jesus gliding over water to his frightened friends, and then in another painting saw him stop mid-stride when his being sensed the courageous one whose bleeding had kept her on the margins of life for so many years, and sensed her peace as healing flowed into her. This Prince of Peace is the One for whom we are waiting this season. Lady Julian reminds us that “He is our peace, when we ourselves are in un-peace.” We gathered to reflect and share on the stories of the One with peaceful feet that touched and challenged us.
However, I was once again struck with the feet of the very ones sitting in our circle, whose work in the world is so often to bring peace. One of us, while she was with us, was working on finding housing for those in the homeless shelter displaced by the SoCal fires. Another had been that week helping to raise money for the drilling of wells in villages in Niger. Someone else had been caring for family members who are ill, or had gone to the side of one in grief and despair. And each one there had taken herself to the place of being peace for someone else–at home, on-line, over land and sea–in speaking words of peace or in just showing up wordlessly with peaceful presence.
I have seen several mashup posts from movies this week of dancing, all synchronized to a contemporary refrain and beat, and there is joy in seeing Fred Astaire, Julie Andrews, john Travolta and Minnie Mouse, one after the other, swirl and tap out joy with their feet; that energy comes first from a peaceful being. Jesus, looking over Jerusalem, sighed,saying, “Would that you knew the things that made for peace!” We all echo that same sigh. And in this season of Advent while we wait, I am choosing to be the one with beautiful, peaceful feet, whether it is by sitting with my daughter overlooking the ocean as we contemplate the unknown future, or by dancing with my little loved ones for the sheer fun of it, or by taking a staff person in the church to lunch, or by collecting money day by day for the fragile ones further damaged by the fires around us. And the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep my heart and mind…