"Go now in peace, go now in peace. May the love of God surround you. Everywhere, everywhere you may go." -Natalie Sleeth, 1976
Early in January, I did a Time for All Ages with the congregation about the lyrics that we sing the children out with every Sunday, "Go Now in Peace." I've heard it sung many ways, with words sometimes substituting for God, like "light." It is the one song we sing nearly every single Sunday and I hoped to take a deeper look at it. We did. And it did not disappoint.
We talked about the line "go now in peace" and then broke it down. I asked the children and youth what they thought GO meant. Run fast! Leave. Run. Shoo!
I asked the children what they thought NOW meant. And one hit it out of the park. In the present, at the particular time period that we are living in at this very second at this very minute on this very hour on this particular day on this occasion.
I then asked what PEACE meant:
To do something nonviolently or calmly.
To not goof around when you want to.
I then turned to the adults and asked them to chime in on what "go now in peace" means.
In right relationship. Feeling good about the person you were just talking too. That everything is okay.
Go now with our love.
Don’t be worried about things.
Go and leave feeling the support and love of the congregation.
Go in a centered, settled way after having been with your community.
Depart and travel with tranquility… placid calmness.
To be safe.
Leave in love.
It was a conversation that has stayed with me. Thank you to all who participated. Special thanks to Dexter Robinson for getting me the audio recording of the discussion so I could transcribe it for you. I like taking time to slow down and think about what we do and explore our meaning making. I plan to revisit "peace" again (and again) with the children. Go now in peace,
Gabe Millins, DRE
Director of Religious Education