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Troubadour of Peace and Light
James Twyman interviewed
by Miriam Knight
In a cave in the mountains of Croatia an extraordinary group of 13 men and women from an ancient lineage had a message for the world. They had chosen to break centuries of silence as a secret society. These masters, called there from all parts of the world, always remained 13 in number. They spent 12 hours a day, from midnight to noon, sitting in silent prayer and contemplation. They were called the Emissaries of Light. It was time for their role as a secret society to end and people everywhere needed to be empowered to be the new Emissaries of Light.

They chose as their messenger a former Franciscan Friar who had been traveling around the US playing his flute and guitar and singing his songs of peace. No, this was not the 60’s, it was 1995. James Twyman was invited out of the blue to give a peace concert in Bosnia and Croatia. While there he received a mysterious invitation to go up into the mountains where he was made welcome by a group of people with extraordinary abilities. They had highly developed psychic powers and were able to shroud themselves at will, which is probably why they remained undiscovered for so many years.

The Emissaries of Light had no particular religious orientation, although their teachings were thought to be based on those of the Apostle John. James spent time with the “Teacher”, arguing that there were so many others more ‘qualified’ than he; people with a name and following. It was precisely because James was “one of the people”, simple and direct yet with humor and music, that they thought he could ‘sell’ the message.

James went back to Boston and fought the call for 4 months. Finally he surrendered and sat down to write. Within 2 weeks he had completed the manuscript of a book, called “The Emissaries of Light.” Within one more week he had a publisher, and Warner Books bought the rights. It is now being made into a movie.

It was the prayer of St Francis that originally set James Twyman on his life’s path: “Oh Lord, make me an instrument of your peace…Where there is despair, bring your hope, where there is darkness let them see your light…Make me your instrument…for it is in giving that we receive.”

He joined the Order but he became restless in the Franciscans, feeling somehow unfulfilled. He left the Order joined a community to run a shelter for the homeless and AIDS sufferers, choosing a life of voluntary simplicity and service. He was always seeking deeper meaning, and the failure of his brief marriage was perhaps due to his drive to be of service. One big turning point for him was discovering the Course in Miracles. It became his spiritual foundation and opened him up to the universal truths that he found in all faiths. He jokingly refers to himself as a “recovered Catholic” who took what worked for him and let go of the rest.

In 1994, someone gave him a copy of peace prayers from the 12 major religions of the world. He set them to music and they became the basis of the peace concerts he started giving around the country. This unpretentious man with an infectious smile came to be known as the Troubadour of Peace. Radiating joy and love of all life, he embodies the gentle essence of St Francis.

The messages he conveys through the medium of music are simple yet profound: “We are here to be peace. Being the hands, feet, body of Christ here on earth – now.” “Seek not peace here, but find it everywhere. Become the instrument of peace and let spirit do the rest. ” “Enlightenment is not a change; it is a recognition of what you are right now. Guru is spelled: gee, you are you.”

The Emissaries of Light urge us to believe that we are ready to move into the flow of the universal, but that we will move forward only as we see that we are ready to do so. We need only say ‘yes’ and allow the current to take us. Surrender, Trust and Gratitude are the foundation of all spiritual paths: Surrender to the divine; Trust that within my emptiness there is one to lead me to an answer; and Gratitude, which is the melding of Surrender and Truth. If you are in spiritual paralysis, turn everything over to the divine. There is a big difference between giving your power away and surrendering to the divine. Trust that divine guidance is always there.

James is one who “walks his talk”. He had come to Portland at the invitation of the Rev. Victoria Etchemendy, minister of the Unity World Healing Center in Lake Oswego. They met at the culmination of one of the peace projects James had initiated: the Cloth of Many Colors. Last summer James had sent the word out vial the Internet asking for people to take scraps of fabric and pray for peace over them. These prayer-impregnated pieces were then sewn into quilts by hundreds of volunteers around the world. The finished quilt was almost a mile long and was presented at a ceremony at the United Nations. The next day it was wrapped around the Capitol Building in Washington DC, and later presented at the Pentagon. Pieces of the quilt were made into stoles and given to a number of world leaders and James took a portion to Jerusalem for a special peace vigil.

James has met with leaders in troubled areas around the world, including Saadam Hussein and Yassir Arafat. When he asked Arafat whether there would ever be peace with Israel, he replied that it would take a million prayers. It is typical of James, that he immediately set up a page on his website for people to post their prayers for peace in the Middle East online at: He urges everyone to visit the site often, and to forward it to friends.

Jimmy is a great believer in the power of prayer. In his own life, he feels that prayers are the anchor that keeps him grounded. His peace concert was a celebration in which he sang and spoke with great sincerity and wit. One of his compositions was a “sound collage” that layered sounds rhythms and words in an exhilarating mixture. Perhaps the most moving part of the day was when he showed a 5 minute film clip from the life of Mother Teresa. It showed her rescuing abandoned spastic children from an orphanage in a war zone. He turned off the sound and accompanied the visuals with the prayer of Mother Teresa, (see box) which he had set to music. There was not a dry eye in the house. James summarized the day with this prayer. “How do we experience this peace? Simply by giving it – every day of our lives. Listen to this prayer and know that this is the whole answer.”

James Twyman’s music is available on a new cd called "Ecclesia Volume I.” It was inspired by the book "Praying Peace" by James Twyman in conversation with Gregg Braden and Doreen Virtue, PhD. James has a new book coming out this spring entitled “Ten Spiritual Lessons I learned in the Mall” describing his experiences talking to people during a 5-day retreat in a local shopping mall. You can visit his website,

The Prayer of Mother Teresa

When I am hungry give me someone that I can feed, and

When I am thirsty show me someone who needs a drink.

And when I am cold give me someone to keep warm

And when I grieve give me someone to console

And when my cross grows too heavy and its weight I cannot bear

When I need someone to hold me and it seems that no one’s there

Lighten up my heavy load, give me someone who deserves

To be loved, just as I do, give me someone that I can serve

When I need some time, let me sit with someone for a while

And when my heart is heavy let me find someone to make smile

And when I’m humble give me someone that I can praise

And when I need to be looked after, show me someone that I can raise

And when I need some understanding, show me someone who needs mine

When I think of myself only, draw my thoughts to those who are kind

When I’m so poor give me someone who’s in need

And when my eyes are blind to what is holy,

Let me see the Christ in the eyes of each one whom I feed.