My primary message this evening came out of a powerful recent meditation on war. Because the physical impact and emotions of war are so horrific our senses understandably try to refuse to let them affect us. And maybe we need not do so if it is indeed so painful to our souls. But humanity will never find the will to abolish war until we can finally let war’s horrifying reality be acknowledged, lamented, and forbidden by law as we have done with slavery.
In a prayer for peace,
War in the Ukraine and Gaza can seem so far away to us.
We do not wince at the burst of artillery or the screams of the wounded.
We do not smell the smoke from buildings afire.
We do not hear the rumble of tanks or the overhead whine of drones and military aircraft.
We do not see the devastation of our homes, our towns and cities.
We do not mourn our shredded landscape and the natural environment.
And we do not hold a body of a dying child or embrace a wailing, distraught mother.
We do not know the run of tears on our face as we mourn our dead family, friends and neighbors.
Yet the wars do eat at our hearts, yearning for peace and reconciliation rather than the horrible wounds of war that seem never to heal.
And in our most attentive selves we know the wars are not just fought "over there."
Wars are also fought in the lucrative munition factories of our country.
Wars are fought by the funding of billions of dollars that enable the continuation of warfare.
Wars are the failure of our leadership to address the oppression and inattention to the grave injustices that ultimately create violence and war.
We thus have become only numbed distant observers of the horrific cataclysm of war, stunned with the ruthlessness and brutality, but unable to know how to respond and intervene.
So we pray - pray for the innocent children especially - whose lives are now forever taken or crippled with the traumas of warfare.
And we pray vaguely for peace, for an ultimate merciful response to the distraught victims of war who cry enough, enough, please God, enough.