Let There Be Peace is a popular song that has made its way into religious worship services, most often on observances of national holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day and Independence Day. But as we begin this New Year, we might consider adopting it as a theme or prayer for 2019.

Surely we can readily identify areas where peace is sorely lacking. We have terrorist activity and war around the world. And, sadly, we need only look around -- to the political quagmire in Washington; to the smoldering unrest in cities and neighborhoods across our nation; and to divisions in our families – to find areas desperate for peace.

One of the great aspects of a new year is that it offers us the chance to begin again. It is an opportunity to resolve to be different, to be better; to leave behind the sorrows and disappointments of the past year and to reclaim a spirit of optimism to embrace another year.

Might the New Year also be the time to take up the cause of peacemaking? The opening line of Let There Be Peace would seem to suggest it. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me, the composer urges. In the face of such overwhelming problems, what can one person do for the cause of peace? Consider the pebble thrown into a pond; it causes a ripple effect that spreads far beyond what the eye can see. If our words and deeds promote peace and respect in the circles in which we engage, what’s to stop its spread beyond those circles? One small effort can promote a world of change!

In this New Year as we begin again, let us dedicate ourselves anew to prayer, to holy living, and to peacemaking, opening ourselves and those around us to a future full of hope. And let us call upon our ever-faithful God to guide us, that there may be peace on earth and that it may indeed begin with us.

Susan Bremer, OSU