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    The voice of peace – Naso

    The priestly blessing, like many of our prayers, ends with shalom. Everyone knows what shalom means, or rather, everyone has their own definition and their own recipe.

    But do you know how the thrush and nightingale defined shalom? This is the story.

    There was a meeting of the animals and birds in the forest. The lion told the others that they all had to listen to him because he was the king. He explained that this was because he could roar much louder than any of them could. To prove it, he emitted such a huge roar that it made the rest of the animals and birds jump with fright.

    After a few minutes, when the echo had died away, the little thrush said quietly, “Yes, lion, it is true that you can produce a much bigger roar than anyone else, but your voice is only strong at the beginning. It gets weaker and less audible the further away one is. A mile or so away, no-one can hear you at all.

    “Compared to you, my voice is much weaker, but when I begin to sing, all the other birds join in and after a few moments the whole forest is alive with the sound of music.”

    What does this tell us about peace? The way to peace is not through a big roar that scares everyone else into submission and obedience, but through the sweet sounds of people joining in the music of harmony.

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