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Sunday, January 1, 2017

On This Eighth Day Of Christmas We Pray For An End To The Insanity Of War

"God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."
Isaiah 2:4 (NIV)
Swords to Plows
The author of the "War is hell" quote, General William Tecumseh Sherman, wrote the following in 1865, "I confess without shame that I am sick and tired of war. It's glory is all moonshine. Even success, the most brilliant, is over dead and mangled bodies... It is only those who have not heard a shot, nor heard the shrills and groans of the wounded and lacerated (friend or foe) that cry aloud for more blood and vengeance, more desolation..."

Today we witness this horror in far more devastating and barbaric ways than on the slaughterfields of the Civil War (for example, Gettysburg, one of the bloodiest battles of all time, resulted in only one (accidental) civilian casualty). Now as in cities like Aleppo in Syria, it is innocent men, women and children who are mercilessly and indiscriminately bombed and buried under rubble--or maimed and rendered homeless--by the use of ever more efficient means of destruction- and death-inflicting terror.

It's hard to imagine a world without weapons. But imagine it we must, if we are to survive on an earth with just enough resources for all, but not enough to waste on ever more efficient instruments of death.

Throughout history people and nations have tried to maintain peace through every means except to follow the example and teachings of the Prince of Peace. We have dismissed as naive Jesus's commands to "love our enemies, pray for them, and do good to them", especially when we realize that kind of response may result in suffering and even crucifixion. We have refused to believe that the only way to peace is through the costly practice of it.

People of faith envision a God-ruled world that will one day result in wolf and lamb lying down together, and have begun to eagerly demonstrate that new way now, just as Jesus and other prophets of peace have done. 

So join me in praying on this Eighth Day of Christmas, and on the first day of a new year, for a forever end to the insanity, horror and brutality of armed conflict. From God's perspective, war is over, a thing of the past. God's forever future is all about shalom, harmony and enduring peace.

On this eighth day of Christmas, all people of faith and goodwill are invited to become living demonstrations of that reality. It begins wherever, whenever and in whomever God is sovereign.

Now, on this New Year's Day, is the time to begin. 

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