Monday, November 02, 2009

On Poppies, flags and such.

Hallowe’en is gone and the trick-or-treaters learned again that nature doth not love beggars; it snowed pretty much all day on the 31st October and by evening, the streets of Rosthern were skating canals.

Remembrance Day—November 11—is almost upon us. It was my duty to deliver the sermon in church on the peace topic on Sunday morning, so I did. In summary, what I said was that soldiers go abroad into extremely risky situations in the interest of military victory, so why is it so hard for us to get up the conviction and the courage to fight for peace? Maybe if there were a “peace army” uniform, marching, some catchy phrase to simplify it (like the army’s “defending freedom”) young people would line up to join. Christian Peacemaker Teams has a model that could define what peace armies would do. They stand in solidarity with those threatened by violence and share their risks. Unarmed, they demonstrate that there are alternatives to the use of force, threats, and physical violence. 100,000 unarmed peace soldiers with hammers and saws, spades and axes could possibly do more to bring stability to Afghanistan than NATO forces can.

Oh, I know that the very idea would be ridiculed by those who have decided that peaceniks are naïve and that human reconciliation and cooperation across ideologies, ethnic differences and political systems is a pipe dream. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. In any case, it’s not been given a fair trial recently, except possibly in cases like the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in South Africa, where dialogue, reconciliation and the granting of amnesties replaced the pattern of retribution so ubiquitous historically.

I watched the World Series game between the Phillies and the Yankees last night and was again amazed how patriotism rides on the coattails of faith (or is it the other way ‘round??) The National Anthem preceded the game; in the 7th inning stretch, a navy man in uniform sang “God Bless America, land of the free” while the baseball fans and players all stood with their hands over their hearts.

I imagined a host of peace army recruits watching a ball game and singing: “We are people of God’s peace as a new creation. Love unites and strengthens us at this celebration. Sons and daughters of the Lord, serving one another, a new covenant of peace binds us all together.” Now there’s an anthem for which I would gladly hold my hand over my heart!

Brethren and Sistren; we have a lot to do. Let’s roll up our sleeves.

No comments:

Post a Comment