Next Monday is Remembrance Day here in Canada.
Paper doves will vie for space with poppies decorating school gyms across the country. Inside the doves are messages about peace, written by children. The classic poem In Flanders Fields will be recited and children will raise treble voices in songs about peace.
The innocence of the children, their songs and cut out doves is all very sweet, but I wonder can peace ever come about because we hold up banners and sing songs?
Other than a few notable despots- the Saddam Husseins, Joseph Konys and Hitlers of this world, who doesn’t want peace? It’s like who doesn’t want ice cream or a trip to Hawaii?
Nobody wants their loved one to come home in box draped with a flag while bagpipes mourn behind them. It’s terrible and tragic. Of course we want peace.
But when injustice rages on, peace has a cost. Chamberlain was wrong to give in to Hitler. “Peace for our time” turned out to be a mere postponement of six years of bloodshed. Peace cannot always be had without conflict. More recent tragedies like Rwanda and Darfur are a shame on all humanity when no-one stepped in.
I skate carefully here. A clause in our church constitution talks about commitment to peace. I examined this carefully before signing on, but decided that yes, I am committed to peace. Most followers of Jesus are.
The peace that Jesus brought came at great cost and through his death and suffering, we have reconciliation and lasting peace that can spread to others.
I wonder do the children singing the songs understand that peace begins in our hearts and comes about only when we are willing to give up something we want. Do they know the harsh reality that injustice and cruelty cannot always be reasoned with or talked out of existence? I wish it were so. But on this broken earth it is not.
So I will wear a poppy and remember those who fought to gain peace.
photo ©Andrew Dunn www.andrewdunnphoto.com