Peace + Prayer + Someone Else’s Country provided me a powerful experience that continues to shape me today. It happened two years ago in Japan at the base of Mt. Fuji. Twelve thousand (12,000!) people come every year to celebrate peace and pray for peace regardless of weather. Every country’s flag is brought to the center of a natural outdoor stage with Mt. Fuji in the background, and all the people pray for peace for the country of their choice and also for the optimal potential of that country to manifest. Everyone is given a laminated plastic flag of their choosing to use during the ceremony. When the flag of their country is brought out, they hold the image over their heads. It was wonderful to see the colors of so many countries held up again and again throughout the ceremony. I wanted to hold up all of them.
Linda and I returned the next year, and I had the same surprising, wonderful experience. I had expected to celebrate my own country’s flag and pray for the peace and potential of my own country, but I had not expected to be thrilled by praying for every country’s flag! They were all so important to me, so rich and so full of promise and potential. The sea of colors in front of us filled me with awe and wonder – at the uniqueness of us, the beauty of us, and the love of us. We were all “us.” I knew that in my thoughts and in my heart, but I felt it and I saw it those days.
Now those days remind me to cultivate my experiences at the base of Mt. Fuji every day. This year Linda and I will attend the ceremony, which is called the Symphony of Peace Prayers, by watching it stream live on the internet. (It is part of the “Fuji Declaration” anniversary celebration). We invite you to join us and our colleagues and the twelve thousand fellow students in the Earth school who will gather again at Mt. Fuji to pray for us and celebrate us – all of us. We will join you there in our hearts.