Tuesday, 5 November 2013


Remembrance Day used to delight me as a child, with its pageantry and solemn rituals. I especially liked the dramatic moment of silence, and if it was followed by a trumpet’s lament, even better. 
Even in shopping malls, at 11:00, on 11/11, shoppers stopped in their tracks as a reverent hush fell over the crowd. 

When I was young there were still many WWII veterans we could hear tell about the monumental battles to keep Germany from taking over all of Europe. We listened to Jewish survivors of the holocaust and trembled at the horrors. 

Slowly those generations began to disappear and by the late1960’s Vietnam’s mess turned the idea of heroic battles on its head. In the decades since, I, like you, have seen TV reports of war, after war, after bloody war, until a sense of futility has usurped any drama or glory.

Millions now live amid dangerous conflicts, whether tribal in Sudan, religious in India, or political in Syria. Here in Canada, I find it hard to even respect the military, let alone glorify it on Remembrance Day. In fact, whereas uniforms used to impress me, now, having encountered riot police during the G20 in Toronto, those insignia make me shudder. 

I used to hear stories about Canadian soldiers putting themselves between warring factions and felt so lucky to be born into a country whose army brought peace instead of war.  Now guns are appearing in my own city and our politicians think that more police with guns and taser weapons will solve the problem. 

Surely we must each do our part to turn this tide.
Let us make Remembrance Day a day to honour peacemakers. 

Let us remember that wars sprout from a lustful greed for power. 
Let us remember that violent opposition should be only a desperate last resort when all other options have been tried. 
Let us remember Christ’s radical alternative to war: “Love your enemy and do good to those who hate you.” (Luke 6)

How different life would be if we chose this way, instead of posting nasty comments on blogs, cursing anyone who gets in our way, despising those who disagree with us, taking revenge when we’re cheated, or caring about only our own.

Let us remember Ephesians 2:
Jesus has abolished [religious] law with its commandments, so that he might create in himself a new humanity in place of [warring factions],
thus making peace
and so that he might reconcile [all] groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death hostility through it. 
So Jesus came 
and proclaimed peace to those who were far off 
and peace to those who were near, 
for through him we all have access in one Spirit to God the Father/Mother. 

Let us remember God’s promise to humanity: Micah 4 
In days to come…many peoples shall say,
“Come, let us go…to the house of the [one] God;
that God may teach us God’s ways and that we may walk in God’s paths.” 
God shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more. 
Come, let us walk in the light of God!

May it be so.