I am called to be a peacemaker in the world. This is in my roots and my family heritage: my parents grew up in the Church of the Brethren, and my mother later brought me to Quaker meeting—two decidedly pacifist Christian denominations. As a child, I marched with my mother to protest nuclear weapons. I grew up hearing about the Viet Nam war and the draft that affected my father and his generation. I remember turning 18 and being required to register for the Selective Service. My generation has lived through American involvement in overseas wars, but nothing like the draft days of earlier generations. My sons have grown up in the post-9/11 era, with war in the Middle East a constant background reality.
This week I am alarmed by President Trump deciding to assassinate a foreign military leader, and by the war-like actions and words exchanged since then by both governments. Are we seeing the beginning of a new war in the middle east? Yesterday it felt like Yes…today Trump is saying more like No…but I’m still scared. What does it take for peace to gain prominence in foreign policy? For diplomacy to supercede missile strikes? It’s a political question and it’s a moral / spiritual question.
This crisis feels far away for me, and for many Americans. It would certainly feel different if missiles were striking American soil instead of Iraqi soil. And I’m sure it feels different for the soldiers deploying from Fort Bragg today and their families. I believe we are all connected, we all need to feel responsible for the direction our nation takes: toward war or toward peace. While it may feel far away, in reality it affects all of us.
Beloved God, spirit of the earth, deepest presence of peace and calmness within us, hear this prayer.
May the day of the last missile fired in Iraq come soon. May the day of peace in the middle east, between Sunni and Shia, between Jew and Muslim, come soon. May the day of homecoming for American troops come soon.
Great spirit, the shadow of war looms on us like a dark cloud. Death and violence, torn bodies and torn psyches and torn lives pour from that storm cloud of war.
Shield your children from this war. Shield my sons. Shield my brothers, American and Iranian, my Saudi and Israeli and Iraqi brothers, from the hell of war.
God of all, awaken in me the spirit of peace that I may proclaim the beauty of peace. Awaken in the heart of world leaders the desire for peace, the wisdom of de-escalation, the truth that all of god’s people are one and that war enriches no nation—it poisons and destroys only.
In the delicate balance of our human hearts, may the love of peace win over the temptation to make war.
In the name of all that is good, peaceful, beautiful, I pray. In the name of love and joy and hope, I pray. May it be so.
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Rev. Andrew Frantz
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