Feb 18, 2008


Let there be peace on Earth always seemed to be one of those hymns sung a lot at Christmas. The song, a simple one, often has brought a smile to my face when I here a young child sing it, but, still, it has always been just another song.

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our father
Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.
Last Tuesday, I attended the funeral of Mike Lynch. Mike died serving the peaceful community of Kirkwood. He was one of several killed on February 7th in a not-so-peaceful night at Kirkwood City Hall. Senseless, confusing, terrifying...yes, yes, yes.

As I walked into church, I was handed a program containing the hymns for the mass and memorial. I did not think much of the paper I was gripping until I was sitting anxiously for the mass to start. To distract myself from trying to converse in the somber and awkward moments before the mass started, I flipped through the 4 pages looking at the hymns. Most of the hymns, I did not know (surprising since I've spent many hours in Catholic masses singing the same hymns over and over again). The last two, I knew well: Let there be peace on Earth and On Eagle's Wings. On Eagle's Wings didn't surprise me (a funeral favorite, if there is such a thing), but Let there be peace on Earth caught me off-guard, very off-guard.

All night Monday, I was dreading having to hold my tears back during Taps at the burial, but seeing the words, "Let there be peace on Earth" Tuesday morning really choked me up. Usually at a funeral, peace in thoughts of a final resting place is assumed. This funeral, peace was not assumed at all. Peace was needed. Peace was needed in my heart, and in several hearts around me, to help us wrap our heads around what was happening around us and what happened to Mike just days earlier. Peace was needed by the community of Kirkwood...not bickering over racial issues or who to blame for this man's senseless act. Peace on Earth...Peace in Kirkwood was a need...and a simple song helped put it into all of our minds.

Never would I have thought of a more perfect song for the situation. Formerly a take it or leave it Christmas hymn, Let there be peace on Earth put a little peace into each and everyone of the attending's hearts and souls.
Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step i take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.


Anonymous said...

having been an altar boy, let there be peace on earth is actually a ownderful song for a sad event. funerals, memorials, "sad" mass days, or ordinary masses after a sad event where the homily was about the recent horrible news.... i especially like the snippet you provided.

Anonymous said...

I hope you have peace. And it lasts.