Monday, 10 November 2008

Peace and Reconciliation - Mentmore on Remembrance Sunday


Encyclopaedia definition of Peace generally negative

Absence of war

Lack of hostility and conflict

Freedom from civil disorder

Peace not just non-violence

Gandhi: if an oppressive society lacks violence, it is nevertheless not peaceful because of injustice and oppression

Martin Luther King: True peace is not merely the absence of tension, but the presence of justice

Trouble is, peace throughout history has often been achieved by a victor over a vanquished. Roman peace – Pax Romana – gained through ruthless repression and not voluntarily

Even Nobel Peace Prize – given to someone who ‘has done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations’ has often been awarded to those who have previously been at war, but have later been associated with making peace when the conflict has ended

Peace is an ideal state

Are you at peace with yourself and the world?

From the 1300’s onward, Peace was used as a greeting

Translation of the Latin Pax or the Gk Eirene

The Hebrew Shalom is a form of Peace characterised by respect, justice and goodwill

During our Common Worship Eucharist we wish each other Peace

Not absence of conflict, but Peace of the Lord – a wholly deeper meaning

Is it disrespectful to those who have died in war and conflict that we turn our attention to Peace and Reconciliation on Remembrance Sunday?

No – we still commemorate the sacrifice of those who died

We still give thanks for their selfless dedication

They did not seek War, but they fought for Peace

Peace is at the heart of the Gospel

It occurs over and over again throughout scripture

From the covenants of peace and the desire for peace in a warring society in the OT

To the more personal inner peace of the NT

For Jesus, peace is a state of mind, body and spirit

This springs forth as harmony, balance, contentment, freedom and justice

Blessed are the peacemakers, he said

The angels at his birth sang of peace and goodwill

The disciples were sent out on their mission – wished peace on every home that would receive them

In John’s gospel, Jesus says he said things so that in him we might have peace

In James 3: Peacemakers sow in peace and reap a harvest of righteousness

Peace resounds throughout the NT

John 14 My peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid

So this morning as we commemorate those who have died – especially those two new names on the War Memorial, let us dedicate ourselves to the furtherance of peace. That is what is at the heart of the Gospel – and that is what those who gave their lives fought for – that we may have peace and have it in abundance.

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