I have what many call a “boring” faith story. But, I also believe in celebrating the boring nature of my story even though I didn’t have a moment where I felt God’s call on my life, or a grandiose “altar call” moment that changed my life. Jesus’ claim on my heart has been constant and comfortable – a calming reminder that boring is just fine.
I was baptized into the United Methodist Church at birth and grew up in a traditional corporate worship setting – Sunday School, Youth Group, and weekly worship. I attended retreats, summer camp and Christian concerts with my circle of friends – most of whom I also worshiped with on Sunday morning. Uneventful? Yes. Boring? Perhaps. Personal? Most definitely.
When I was thirteen, during one summer at Camp Overlook, I was introduced to the hymn “Let There Be Peace On Earth, and Let It Begin with Me.” I liked the song, we learned it easily and we practiced it enough so as to be able to sing it for our parents during our week-end concert. Again, nothing extraordinary about the story other than that it happened to me.
Fast-forward seven years to my sophomore year of college. Life took over, stressors were at an all-time high and temptations were all around me. I found myself singing this hymn when I least expected it. I found myself singing it all the time. I found that it calmed the world around me and recentered me to look toward my heavenly path. I would sing the last two verses over and over again, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not.
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
In peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
The words started to take on a meaning that intertwined every aspect of my life. I would seek peaceful relationships with my family and husband. I would pray for peace in the world and in the lives of my friends. I would sing when I was afraid, when I wanted reassurance that, although not always popular, I was making decisions that were faith-driven. The hymn became my meditation – my prayer. I intentionally tattooed my foot so that I would echo the promise I sing in the hymn, “with every step I take, let this be my solemn vow.”