Friday September 21st is the UN International Day of Peace and around the world individuals and organisations are reaching out in peace. This of course may not be immediately apparent from a glance at the media which has rightly soberly covered the many instances of violence and conflict in our society and around world, but is there not room for a paragraph on peace?
At lunchtime today I attended a short and moving service in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster where representatives from many faith groups were brought together under the auspices of London Peace Network to mark the International Day of Peace.
In turn we simply shared our united desire for peace not in a superficial way which denied our own sincerely held religious convictions and traditions but through drawing on our our traditions we found the common elements of peace and forgiveness to share with eachother.
I was particularly impressed by the representatives of London’s Islamic centres and mosques who the media might lead us to believe stirring up riots against the latest provocative anti-Islamic video and buring flags, but they were instead embracing the UN International Day of Peace by inviting those from all faiths and none to join them at Friday Prayers (Salaatul-Jumu’a) for prayers for peace, to exchange messages of peace, to celebrate local peace building efforts and to enjoy hospitality and friendship with one another.
This evening I will be with 12,500 others in celebrating the International Day of Peace at Wembley Arena at the Peace One Day Concert with Elton John, James Morrison.
Neither of these events in London merited a single line in the Evening Standard nor any of the national newspapers or news channels. When good news ceases to be newsworthy, the news in some ways ceases to be worthy.
That said, the greater message of the day was to remind us that there may be many different paths to it and many different ways of celebrating it, but there is only one peace and it is one which must be shared by all to be made complete. In London today we have made a small start.