by Arlene Arnold
Oh, Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Prayer of St. Francis
"All my life I have been haunted by God," begins James Twymans book Emissary of Light: A Vision of Peace. "As a small child I felt a mysterious, passionate longing for the Divine. I thought mystical experiences were natural, that everyone was having them
" True to this longing, James entered a monastery right out of high school, but to his disappointment "the empty stillness of the ancient rituals echoed within me and left me cold." So, he set out to serve. This took him to the streets of Chicago, working with homeless men and women living with AIDS. Soon he added music to his spiritual quest and became a "troubadour singing for peace."
This is how I was first introduced to James Twyman. He came as a troubadour for peace to the Universal Lightworkers Conference in Tacoma this summer. I was moved by his songs of peace coming from many different religions. I was awed by his ability to create music by adding instrumental sounds, piece by piece, into a sound system that repeated them one on top of the other: flute, percussion, singing bowls, and more. The final piece was his haunting voice pulling it all into one. Then, I met James in the vendors room where he was selling his CD. What a gentle, genuine man, a breath of spirit to those around!
Love our sword and peace our shield, unto this path our hearts will surely yield
And when we see this one we shall say Peace be unto you.
Because I sensed that this was a man with so much to offer, I volunteered to interview him for The New Times, knowing that he would be again offering his songs of peace at The Whole Life Expo in Portland in December. Was I in for a surprise! I finally reached him and we had a brief but interesting conversation on the phone. When I played back the tape, it sounded like he was in a deep cavern, and I couldnt make out a single word. Meantime, James had left for Europe.
As I asked my inner voice what this meant (Ive learned that nothing happens by accident), I felt that I needed to read his book before I wrote the article. That day, I borrowed Emissary of Light from East West Books. That night, I began a process that touched me deeply. How was I to know that this gentle, unimposing man has been called to bring a life-changing message to all of us?
Throughout his life, James has been drawn over and over again to find ways to bring world peace. Through a friend, he was given peace prayers from the 12 major religions. James was led to compose music that weaves these beautiful prayers together. He was soon commissioned "Peace Troubadour" by Bostons Peace Abbey, at which point he dedicated his life to sharing these prayers for peace through the music.
Oh God, lead us from the unreal to the real
May we see each other as the perfect one
May we come to see each other as the Buddha."
Soon, James was on tour, first in the U.S. and, soon, planning to go to Europe. What he longed most for was to go to the places where the need for peace was the greatest. His thought was to travel to Bosnia and Croatia, places in great turmoil. He faxed 150 humanitarian organizations in the Balkan area asking for them to set up a peace concert. Yet, as he was about to leave for Europe, he had heard from no one. Then, when he had given up hope, the call came.
Almighty one, my God, you are the way that we walk to peace, the great cornerstone that will not falter.
James thought the Bosnia/Croatia trip was an opportunity to play his peace songs to the people there. How much more it was! Yes, he did play his music, but beyond that, he was taken through the war-torn, dangerous countryside to a secret community. Here he found the Emissaries of Light, who have maintained an unseen presence in the midst of places of deep strife to extend the transforming power of love and hope for two thousand years.
Even more astounding was the message they brought to James: he had agreed before this lifetime began to carry the message of the Emissaries of Light to a world now ready to take on their work in the open. Most likely, those of you who are reading these words are being called or have been called to join the many carrying the light of peace into a world at a turning point of opportunity.
A truth above all things: The lord will know us for who we are when peace alone we do bring.
Some months ago, the miracles continued. James spoke on talk radio in London just prior to a possible invasion of Iraq. In response to a callers question, James said he would like to go to Baghdad and sing peace prayers for the people of Iraq. Later that same day, he received a call from a representative of the Iraqi embassy informing him that if he were ready by midnight that night he would be taken to Iraq to sing his peace prayers.
Following a 16-hour ride through the desert by way of Amman, Jordan, this one-man peace conference arrived. Industry in Iraq was shut down for this concert, and even though he never met Saddam Hussein in person, James performed on national TV three times as he sang the Muslim prayer for peace. Meanwhile, thousands of persons across the world, hearing of the peace concert via e-mail, paused in prayer. Three days later, though it seemed an impossible task, Saddam Hussein signed a peace treaty.
We pray that God will end all misery in this world, that understanding will triumph over ignorance
It didnt end there. James was then invited to Ireland. Again the word went out for worldwide prayers. Within a week after the peace concert, a peace agreement was reached that most thought was impossible.
Who can say how these peace concerts affected events? From one who believes there are no coincidences, I am convinced that we do affect the outcome through our thoughts, prayers, and deeply held desires.
With that in mind, dont miss an opportunity to be part of this peacemaking process! A 1999 concert tour and fundraiser called Healing Hearts, Healing Nations will debut in the Seattle/Portland areas in late January or early February, featuring James Twyman, Gregg Braden, and Liz Story. This will be "a very special evening of music, song, prayer and celebration of the human spirit." Watch The New Times for the time and place. In the meantime, mark your calendar for the first weekend in December for The Whole Life Expo, where you can meet James in person.
Oh Great Spirit of our ancestors
give us the wisdom to love each other and strength in peace of mind.
James F. Twyman has released two books, The Secrets of Unconditional Love and Emissary of Light, and two CDs, Emissary of Light: Songs from The Peace Concerts and May Peace Prevail on Earth. He is a student and teacher of A Course of Miracles. For more information about the upcoming peace concert, call (505) 424-6892.