Master Peace- Celeste

Nathan Stanton has spent the last 10 years as a pastor, church planter and artist on the West, South and Northsides of Chicago, and is an Interfaith America Racial Equity Media Fellow 

The following short story and poem are a part of a series of vignettes from Stanton that we will be publishing each month and are connected to a larger narrative called Master Peace. The narrative is about characters seeking personal solace in a time of unrest. You can find the first short story and poem 'Darnell' and "Black Bodies Beauty" here.


The rumble she felt happened as she prayed on her knees in her room. Often she awoke long before the sun had risen spurned on by Malachi 4:6 “The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in it’s wings. The Great Physician was more apt to heal as we witnessed the rising of the most perfect circle. She glanced over at the clock and saw it was 3 am. She had been looking to remove a certain disdain and terror slowly welling up in her spirit, where her intuition lives. She’d been reared in the mostly black church denomination that could only see the goodness of God as any benefit to life. The dress up on the weekends reacted to the blue collar dress down during the week. She looked as her sisters were all primped and puffed to go to a building that would become their sanctuary for the next few hours. Even longer on Sunday. Ever since she was a child there was plenty of praise for her pious nature and her willingness to be an usher with her white gloves and show people to the wood and velvet lined pews at the same church she had found Jesus. Yet and still there was a new rumbling in her spirit that didn’t sound like “Oh Happy day” or even “Great is thy Faithfulness”. She had been taught so much yet there was a nagging darkness growing into a crescendo at that moment in her room in an unforeseen void.

That deep sound called to the sound that had been cultivated inside of her soul from long ago. Now on her own in the apartment near the edge of town, she felt the lances of imprisonment and safety all the same. But directives grabbed a hold of here even as her mind dueled with the expectations so many had placed on her shoulders that forced her to become who she could not be for much longer. The depth of the rumbling became like a song to her that lasted only a few seconds. But by and by it became a song that did not end for in her it had found it’s reflection. Leaving the hastily painted place quietly knowing she would need to explain her absence to her quietly dozing roommates upon her return. She walked barefoot through the early morning darkness, with each step she shed the weight of expectation. Her commitment to God had never waned. She imagined Him cheering her on as she broke away from the confines of tradition to follow some unseen powerful force that had beckoned her forward. As that weight got lighter the reality of the way she felt got stronger and she wept uncontrollably tears streaming as she struck our towards the barely imperceptible sound with her ears but obviously deafeningly loud and disruptive to her very spirit. The God of the universe had begun his glance toward her section of the galaxy and His attention was felt with immediacy. The tears washed away the facade of her identity and the incensed look and fear of her father could not even make her look back. The clarity of the night and brightness of the stars urged her on into a future that rested just past the boundaries of this obviously God-forsaken town.

There seemed to be tears and time enough for every injustice that had existed and on she trod with a determination one has when the destination exists in the heart. She’d wanted to go out but was taught by her parents to be suspicious of everything and everyone especially when the sun goes down. Now in this time the darkness, the unknown had become her own. God speaks the loudest in a vacuum

 Striking a match just as Abraham had done for his faith. So imagine the surprise when she approached a disheveled man starting off in the direction of the sound and a little further partygoers exiting a gathering not in the best of spirits but as they had decided to stay too long and the mood became all too somber. Normally Celeste would cross the street in humility to not be to close to the debauchery that was happening but now the beauty and precious nature of their fragility and humanity struck her like a lightning bolt and they stood transfixed upon her shoeless figure and the tears that dropped before each step and were crushed underfoot. She was reclaiming the land that was her identity, freedom and ironically there was no one there to see it. Only strangers she passed in the night. Just as those who had known her would soon become. Yet she was impressed by the thoughts, inspiration and joy that flooded into her mind at that moment as if ushered there by the moonlight.



I’d escape without myself


A most pernicious mystery becomes the self from which one runs

Like the mirror that follows one propped

up in the Radio flyer

In keeping with the deceit that becomes desire

Resting in the confidence that the other path will be all right and

seeking towards the reality as a side effect

keeping in control of spite

for my settlement that required the meat of my own party

Dreams have to die for others to live and I’ve found the

resurrection of one’s identity a harder gift to give

for the comfort that has to be sacrificed for

lately cannot be exited safely as time

wanders on

Yet there is a welcoming into the danger that is unknown that is strong

shaking us to the midst of our core and deciding to explore

The limits of the places i was willing to go

Still here in my skin and convinced I should want to stay

but calling out into the darkness still reverberates loud

like the beating of silence against the conscience

I’d remain in most cozy confines trading vacation stories

of when I was once free for the weekend

became the need to trade what I strive towards

for what I’d known

that long ago in me the Nomad was sown

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

more from IFYC

North Carolina is not alone in regard to macro-level efforts by state governments to increase access to vaccines, subverted by micro-level actions by individuals.
A través de mi experiencia, sé que las familias hispanas han sido gravemente, y desproporcionadamente, afectadas por la pandemia, y los datos de la Encuesta sobre Diversidad Religiosa y Vacunas de 2021 de PRRI-IFYC lo corroboran.
"It is permissible within our religion to defer, or to make up your fast later if you're feeling sick."
From experience, I know that Hispanic families had been greatly, and disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and survey data from the 2021 PRRI-IFYC Religious Diversity and Vaccine Survey corroborates this.
As the last few days of Ramadan are upon us – take our interactive quiz to find out how much you really know about this holy month.
We weren’t sure what to expect or how to navigate the complexities of getting to know colleagues from a distance, but IFYC team members Silma and Nadia welcomed us into their homes, their traditions, and their faith.
As the final project for the class, we wanted to do something that would make our campus a more inclusive, interreligious place.
IFYC is collecting prayers and meditations from diverse faiths to show our solidarity with the people of India, as well as links to charitable organizations that people can support.
Generally, tradition holds that the body is to be cremated or buried as quickly as possible – within 24 hours for Hindus, Jains and Muslims, and within three days for Sikhs. This need for rapid disposal has also contributed to the current crisis.
“Humanitarian Day embodies why Islam is relevant in America today. It’s why many Black Muslims embraced Islam, to be part of the solution, not only in their personal lives, but in their communities." - Margari Aziza Hill, MuslimARC
Recently, I asked a group of IFYC Alumni to share what they do in one sentence. I love their responses because they capture who they are so well.
As a nurse and a physician occupying different spheres in relation to the patient, Anastasia and I held comparable but also differing views about the role of religion and interfaith in the realm of patient care.
El movimiento necesita artistas, educadores, trabajadores de la salud, padres, funcionarios electos, científicos, clérigos, directores generales, y cuantas personas sea posible para hablar en contra de la injusticia donde sea que la veamos.
The scholarship covers the students’ tuition, as well as housing and living assistance while they pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees across all 18 of Columbia’s schools and affiliates.
En esta foto del sábado 9 de mayo de 2020, el Rev. Fabián Arias lleva a cabo un servicio en casa, al lado de los restos de Raúl Luis López quien murió de COVID-19 el mes previo, en el barrio Corona del distrito de Queens en Nueva York.
It is certainly within the rights of philanthropic and political institutions to 'not do religion,' but such an approach undermines any meaningful, holistic commitment to community or place-based humanitarian efforts in much of this country.
Last month, Kevin Singer, co-director of Neighborly Faith, brought two interfaith leaders together to discuss their respective publications and the consequences of the Equality Act on religious organizations, institutions, and places of worship.
It is in this spirit respeaking memory and finding time to etch it into the future that I offer the following exercise. It is designed to do with your friends or folks – preferably three or more. Take some time with it. Use it as a catalyst to...
Imagine my surprise upon coming to USA and celebrating my first Easter, but didn’t people realize it was Easter? Why are all the egg die and chocolates already sold out and none left for us celebrating a few weeks later?
They will, in other words, be learning the skills of mindfulness meditation — the secular version of the Buddhist practice that has skyrocketed in popularity to become America's go-to antidote for stress.
This is a sampling of sacred texts and statements, listed in alphabetical order by religion, that religious communities have used to engage in the work of public health amidst this global pandemic.

The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.