Remembrance Sunday 2019
There is no war that is not horrible, however 'noble' a cause might be, or said to be. One of its many horrible aspects is that most casualties in modern conflicts are civilians, including children.
What a mess the world is in. We could blame people in power. We could blame uneven distribution of resources. We could ask, why does God allow dreadful things to happen?
This Welsh teenager's letter to God was written some decades ago, but it says what many feel about lack of peace between people:
"Dear God, I’m writing to complain about the state of the world. I would like to know what you’re going to do about it. Are you still in charge, or have you left us to our own devices? Peace is what the world needs, no more fighting, no more bloodshed…no racism, no prejudice, and most of all no war. Why do you allow people to feel that you can just take over other countries? Why do people feel that other races and religions are inferior to theirs? This is wrong...Now that I’ve given you something to think about, I hope that you will do something about the state of the world.Yours sincerely, Jadie Jones, aged 15 Caerphilly, Glamorgan.”
(published in ‘Letters of Peace, Pavilion Books 1995 p.77)
How might God reply? That God feels the pain? That God also wants justice and peace? Even more than we do? That God has done something and is doing something, but chooses to use human co-workers?
In Remembrance Sunday services in churches, these words of Jesus from Matthew's Gospel are often read: "blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called children of God".
It is not peace-lovers Jesus calls blessed, but peace- makers. You can love peace but not be a peace-maker.
Peace-making is not a soft option. Peacemakers take flak from opposing sides while bringing them together. That is tough. Peace-makers do not avoid conflict, but tackle its roots, at personal cost. Peace-makers overcome evil with good.
Remembrance Sunday (2nd Sunday in November) and Remembrance Day (November 11th) bring the reminder to keep praying for peace and to pray for leaders who make decisions that affect many for good or ill. If such remembrances and prayers are to mean anything, then they have to be accompanied by the commitment to work "for all that makes for peace and builds up the common good", starting where we are, at home, among neighbours, workplaces and local communities.
"blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God”.
Image Credit: Bessi on Pixabay, CC License