Without a Voice: Singing the Hymn of Peace During This Lenten Season

Dear His Holiness, Pope Francis, President Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah Winfrey,

We are all here by accident.  The glory of life simply happens.  By some miracle of luck, chance, and/or directive, one of the estimated billion sperm our fathers emit in their lifetimes connect with our mothers' female ovum and, voila, here we are.  It could have been the wind, the sun, or the mood that either one of our parents were in that made us become who we are, but somehow, we made it.  Truly astonishing the odds and remarkable the journey.  What we do after that is entirely up to us.  We are shaped by our environments, our upbringing, the experiences we encounter and the trillions of combinations of our parents love.  

Each one of you to whom I write, have influenced all of the other zygotes of the world which went on to become this earth's inhabitants to a tremendous degree and each one of you has made the most of appealing to the better side of human instincts to form communities of love, respect and hope for the future.  

Yesterday, we again were again struck by our own ineptitude at dealing with the pain, suffering and dislocation of someone in need of help who we, collectively failed, leading to another senseless mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida which was recently deemed the safest city in the United States by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.  It is tragic that our leaders in the United States don’t have the guts to stand up and say what so many of us know to be the truth and that is that there is a reason the first amendment, freedom of speech, was placed before the right to bear arms and that is so sensible folk can openly and without fear state how outdated the rationale for gun ownership is.  The truth is, even a well regulated militia armed with a thousand assault rifles are no match for the United States military and have not been for years.

The reason I write, however, is for a greater purpose.  In this Lenten season, many believe it is a time to deny the self in honor of the sacrifice that Jesus made when walking the desert for forty days.  Last year, for the first time in my adult life, I decided to give up speaking for the forty days of Lent (something I love more than anything ; ) in an effort to gain an audience with His Holiness, Pope Francis to gain his support for PeaceCraft.Us.  That effort failed, but I am determined to gain an audience this year.

PeaceCraft.Us is a workable idea for peace which consists of an international celebration, supported by the United Nations, where this body instituted to bring peace to this world, will recognize a specific and independent day of ceasefire for each and every country on this earth.  The idea is to have a filibuster for peace, one nation at a time, one day at a time, day after day until every single nation on this earth has had a chance to hear the song of peace.  Think of it as Live Aid meets Alcoholics Anonymous with the grandeur of the Olympics and the dogged determination of Senator Rand Paul.  We begin with all of the countries that currently have peace within their borders, and we line them up one by one.   Then, with God’s help, and the help of our collective will and the spotlight of 21st Century social media connectivity, we engage each and every person on this earth in an effort to hear the call of peace.

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Folks, I’m tired.  I’m tired of walking through this life, absolving myself of the responsibility to help others on a local and a global scale.  I’m tired of saying there is nothing I can do, that the world can never be changed, that we’ve gone too far off course.  Once I say that, once we say that, we have lost.  I refuse to give up the fight for all I have been taught and for all that I believe in, that together we are stronger than apart.  Together, we can utilize all of our strengths and mitigate our weaknesses to achieve something more than we ever thought capable of ourselves.  I believe and toward that end, I have decided to cease speaking for the next forty days in an effort to get the five of you together so that we can plan and implement this international filibuster for peace.  Ironically, my brother runs one of the biggest event marketing companies on the planet.  He thinks I’m crazy.  I’m hoping that one of you will prove him wrong and show the world that the power of love, is now and will always be, stronger than the power of hate, that the inspiration of beauty will always defeat the vengeance of anger and the power of unconditional love overcomes the need for control and can indeed bring us all together.

Two as one, we win, and two as one, we lose.  Together.  

I make this sacrifice, not because I feel that I need to prove myself to the Lord, but because I honestly believe the Lord gave me the strength to reach one of you and spark something that this world has yet to see.  Perhaps, even the “Greatest Showman On Earth” might be interested in helping set the stage.  The question is not can we do it.  The real question is what is your verse in the song of peace.  I can hear it.  I’ve been hearing it and visualizing it for a while.  I sincerely hope and pray that this letter reaches one of you directly or through someone you know.   If my wordless Lenten period, can get the people of this world to finally hear the love of God and the common essence that literally binds all of us together, then I will truly understand my own helplessness over our fate and how an embrace of that helplessness will, in fact, achieve more than I ever could on my own.   While my lips won't be speaking, my voice will not be silenced.  I hope you hear my call.  

Yours sincerely,

Brian Mannix