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Barbara Brown Taylor tells the story of her nephew Will’s first birthday party. The family was gathered around for the usual traditions of birthdays, the cake. And the presents. Will let them know how pleased he was by doing his new dance-a slow twirling movement that he had invented several days before with lots of fancy arm work.

The whole family was circled around Will, admiring his dance when little cousin Jason couldn’t stand it any more. He charged through the circle, put both hands on Will’s chest, and shoved. Will fell hard, hitting his rear end first, and then his head, with a crack. He looked utterly surprised, and then let out a howl of pain. His mother hugged him, and helped him to his feet, and he calmed down. The first thing Will did was to totter over to Jason. He knew Jason was at the bottom of this thing, only since no one had ever done something like this to him before, he didn’t know what the thing was. So he did what he had always done. He put his arms around Jason and lay his head against the mean little boy’s chest.

Taylor says, "at that moment all my Christian conviction went right out the door. I will buy him a BB gun for his next birthday," she thought. "Iron knuckles. A karate video for toddlers. It just about killed me to think how this sweet child would have to learn to defend himself, but it was either that or eat the dust on the playground for the rest of his life."

But, of course, Will was right, and she was wrong. On the playground of life, it’s little Will who was somehow close enough to heaven to know the Father’s will of Peace.

SOURCE: Leonard J. Vander Zee, South Bend Christian Reformed Church in "The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace." Citation: http://www.sbcrc.org/sermons/2000.10.01.html

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