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December 2019
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Readings for the International Day of Peace

Sample readings on the theme of light to accompany a candlelighting ceremony:

Invocation:

Let light fill the sky.
Let its warmth heal us 
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog 
so that we can see each other clearly.
Let our selfishness vanish so we can see
all people as our neighbors,
as part of our family.
Let the flames teach our hearts 
to reach always upward  to heaven.
Our world awaits the light
that each of us can bring.

Hinduism:
“Lead me from the unreal to the real, from darkness lead me to Light.” - Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.3.2.

Judaism:
“Lift up the light of thy countenance upon us, O Lord!” – Psalm 4:6

Buddhism
“Hold firm to the truth as a lamp and refuge.” - Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Islam:
”God is the light of the heaven and the earth….
Light upon Light! God guides whom He will to His Light” - Qur'an 24. 35

Sikhism:
“There is a light in all, and that light is the Ultimate One.” – Guru Granth 663

Christianity:
“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. – John 1:5”

 

Sample readings for a ceremony in which representatives of different religions pour water into a common bowl:

Invocation:

Let the water wash away 
the ancient grudges, 
the bitter hatreds 
nurtured over generations.
May it melt the memory 
of our own pain.
Let our hearts, 
nourished by the water of life, 
blossom in beauty.
Our world awaits the water
that each of us can bring.

  1. Traditional African Reading
    Almighty God, the Great Thumb, 
    we cannot evade to tie any knot;
    the Roaring Thunder that splits mighty trees:
    the all-seeing Lord up on high who sees
    even the footprints of an antelope 
    on a rock mass here on Earth.
    You are the one who does not hesitate 
    to respond to our call.
    You are the cornerstone of peace.
  2. Native American Reading
    O Great Spirit of our Ancestors, 
    I raise my pipe to you.
    To your messengers the four winds, 
    and to Mother Earth, 
    who provides for your children.
    Give us the wisdom to teach our children
    to love, to respect, and to be kind to each
    other so that they may grow
    with peace in mind.
    Let us learn to share all good things that
    you provide for us on this Earth.
  3. Baha’i Reading
    Be generous in prosperity and thankful in adversity.
    Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech.
    Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness, 
    and a home to the stranger.
    Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring.
    Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, 
    a dew upon the soil of the human heart,
    and a fruit upon the tree of humility.
  4. Buddhist Reading
    May all beings everywhere plagued
    with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid,
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power,
    and may people think of befriending one another.
    May those who find themselves in trackless, fearful wilderness—
    the children, the aged, the unprotected—
    be guarded by beneficent celestials,
    and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.
  5. Christian Reading
    Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they shall be known as the Children of God.
    But I say to you that hear, love your enemies,
    do good to those who hate you,
    bless those who curse you,
    pray for those who abuse you.
    To those who strike you on the cheek,
    offer the other also,
    and from those who take away your cloak,
    do not withhold your coat as well.
    Give to everyone who begs from you,
    and of those who take away your goods,
    do not ask them again.
    And as you wish that others would do to you,
    so do to them.
  6. Confucianist Reading
    When things are investigated, then true knowledge is achieved.
    When true knowledge is achieved, then the will becomes sincere.
    When the will is sincere, then the heart is set right. 
    When the heart is set right, then the personal life is cultivated. 
    when the personal life is cultivated, then the family life is regulated.
    When the family life is regulated, then the national life is orderly.
    And when the national life is orderly, then there is peace in the world.
  7. Hindu Reading
    Oh God, lead us from the unreal to the Real.
    Oh God, lead us from darkness to light.
    Oh God, lead us from death to immortality.
    Shanti, Shanti, Shanti unto all.
    Oh Lord God almighty, may there be peace 
    In celestial regions.
    May there be peace on earth.
    May the waters be appeasing.
    May herbs be wholesome, and may trees and plants 
    bring peace to all. 
    May all beneficent beings bring peace to us.
    May thy Vedic Law propagate peace 
    All through the world.
    May all things be a source of peace to us.
    And may thy peace itself, bestow peace on all,
    and may that peace come to me also.
  8. Jewish Reading
    Come let us go up the mountain of the Lord, 
    that we may walk the paths of the Most High.
    And we shall beat our swords into ploughshares,
    and our spears into pruning hooks.
    Nation shall not lift up sword against nation—
    neither shall they learn war any more.
    And none shall be afraid, 
    for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken.
  9. Muslim Reading
    In the name of Allah,
    the beneficent, the merciful.
    Praise be to the Lord of the
    Universe who has created us and
    made us into tribes and nations,
    that we may know each other, 
    not that we may despise each other.
    If the enemy incline towards peace, 
    dothou also incline towards peace, 
    and trust God, for the Lord is the one 
    that heareth and knoweth all things.
    And the servants of God,
    Most Gracious are those who walk 
    on the Earth in humility, 
    and when we address them, 
    we say "PEACE.”
  10. Shinto Reading
    Although the people living across the ocean
    surrounding us, I believe,
    are all our brothers and sisters,
    why are there constant troubles in this world?
    Why do winds and waves rise in the
    ocean surrounding us?
    I only earnestly wish that the wind will
    soon puff away all the clouds 
    which arehanging over the tops of the mountains.
  11. Sikh Reading
    God adjudges us according to our deeds,
    not the coat that we wear:
    that truth is above everything,
    but higher still is truthful living.
    Know that we attaineth God when we loveth,
    and only that victory endures in consequences of which 
    no one is defeated.
  12. Sufi Reading
    Send Thy peace O Lord, which is perfect and everlasting,
    that our souls may radiate peace.
    Send Thy peace O Lord, that we 
may think, act and speak harmoniously.
    Send Thy peace O Lord, that we may be 
    contented and thankful for Thy bountiful gifts.
    Send Thy peace O Lord, that amidst our worldly strife, 
    we may enjoy Thy bliss.
    Send Thy peace O Lord, that we may endure all, 
    tolerate all, in the thought of Thy grace and mercy.
    Send Thy peace O Lord, that our lives may become a Divine vision 
    and in Thy light, all darkness may vanish.
    Send Thy peace O Lord, our Father and Mother,
    that we Thy children on Earth may all unite in one family.
    - Inayat Khan, founder of the Sufi Order in the West
  13. Concluding prayer read by everyone
    Lord, make us instruments of your peace. 
    Where there is hatred, let us sow love; 
    where there is injury, pardon; 
    where there is discord, union; 
    where there is doubt, faith; 
    where there is despair, hope; 
    where there is darkness, light; 
    where there is sadness, joy.
    Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; 
    to be understood as to understand; 
    to be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive; 
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
    - attributed to St. Francis

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