Friday, November 11, 2016
Lest We Forget...as Christians
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love
Where there is injury, your healing power
And where there's doubt true faith in you
I have come to despise war, and my distaste for it deepens with each passing year. And today I will make my way to the cenotaph in Belleville as I have done in different communities I've served through my ministry. This may sound like a contradiction, but I appreciate beyond describing the service and sacrifice of our current military personnel and our veterans from past conflicts. We will also recognize Remembrance Sunday in a couple of days, as we have done in every congregation I've served.
I do feel that the violence of war is contradictory to Jesus' instruction to be peacemakers and war dehumanizes us. I am appalled by the hypocrisy of vaunting our service people as heroes when they are in the midst of conflict only to treat them as trash when they return. Sometimes I want to weep when I am reminded that roughly half as many Canadian soldiers have taken their own lives since returning from Afghanistan as were killed while serving there.
Yet I'm not an absolute pacifist. I do believe that I too would have served in the military if called upon to do so at an earlier age to protect my loved ones and ensure the values of my country and the security of the planet. I am grateful again today that my father and father-in-law served during WWII. Both became ministers eventually and neither were pacifists.
It is in this swirl of ambivalence that I will as a Christian observe Remembrance Day and will bow my head in prayers of gratitude and hope for peace.