War – and Peace

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

On Sunday 8th November, from tiny village War Memorials to the great crowds that will gather at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, people will meet together to remember those who gave their lives in the cause of freedom and in the service of our country.

It is now over one hundred years since the outbreak of World War I – the ‘war to end all wars’ – and yet still men and women take up arms against each other.

What is it that we lack? Why cannot men and women live together in harmony and respect?

These questions are almost as old as the world itself – and yet the answers elude us.

When Christ said to his disciples (John 14:27) ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” he went on to say “I do not give to you as the world gives.” Perhaps he was recognising the particular ‘other-worldly’ tasks his followers would constantly have before them.

If, as Christians, we are ‘in the world but not of the world’ then our constant, unending task must be to pray for peace and to work for peace in whatever way we can. Whether it be peace in our homes, peace in our families or peace in our workplace or church, these ‘local’ situations can have an effect on much larger issues.

But, above all, we must have peace in our hearts: for that can lead to so much more.

Perhaps those words of a lovely prayer may help you as much as they have helped me to pray regularly for peace of heart – in the hope that I may join other people of peace and, in some small way, work for the coming of the kingdom.

Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.
Peace, peace, peace.

As we gather to remember this year, let us make it a real opportunity to pledge ourselves afresh to be peacemakers – in the name of Christ.

With every blessing,

Paul

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