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Sowing Seeds of Peace

Updated on October 24, 2012

Growing Your Spiritual Garden Part III

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22

I've got peace like a river
I've got peace like a river
I've got peace like a river in my soul
I've got peace like a river
I've got peace like a river
I've got peace like a river in my soul

Lyrics from "Peace Like a River" Traditional Spiritual

The above lyric is taken from a traditional African-American spiritual, and there is a pretty good chance that you have heard this song sung at some time in your life. One powerful aspect of the spiritual is that the songs and hymns are packed with emotion. The lines and phrases are simple and often repeated for emphasis throughout the song; but, as these songs are sung, the singer can not help but feel the power of the Spirit inside because song connects the singer to something that is greater and more powerful than him or her.

With that concept in mind, take a few minutes and sing the opening lines to "Peace Like a River." As you sing or recite these lyrics, what are they saying to you? What does it mean to have "peace like a river" in the soul? What emotions did you feel? Could you make a connection? If so, think about the following relationships between peace and water.

Peace and peacefulness have often been connected to water. There is something calming in the sound of water flowing over rocks in a small stream. The little ripples seem to flow on and on as the stream makes its way to its greater destination. Water represents the connection of the universe. brooks flow into creeks, creeks flow into small rivers, small rivers flow into larger rivers until the vein of water reaches its final destination. To have "peace like a river" is to understand and be connected to the present moment. It is a way to be satisfied with the here and now and to understand that the present moment is just one stop on the journey we call life.

In many African-American spirituals, the reference to water was a reference to the Underground Railroad and escape routes to freedom. The references assured slaves that freedom was across the water. When the water was reached, the burden of slavery could be dropped on the shore. To the slave that had been running the long road to freedom, the sight of the river must have been a blessed sight. Days and weeks of hiding to avoid capture were over; it was almost time to rest. It was time to find peace.

To me, having "peace like a river" in your soul is basically a combination of accepting the present moment and never losing sight of what waits for us on the other side. It is also a way to describe the feeling that comes over us when we realize that we do not have to run any longer. We are finally free to be at rest in the arms of the One that loves us.

Today people run from many things; but these individuals never seem to understand what exactly makes them run. There is something deep inside of the individual that seeks to be free. Peace can never be truly obtained until the individual can make the connection between fear and acceptance.

When we sow seeds of peace in our spiritual garden, we are helping to cultivate ground that will grow this type of understanding. We will know that we can stop running from the things that we fear and rest in knowledge that we are loved and cared for spiritually.

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