From the Festive Worship collection
THEME Peace with the past – peace with the present
THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION
- If we are unwilling to learn from history, we commit ourselves to reliving the mistakes of our ancestors.
- The peace of the land, the peace of the people and the peace of the heart are inextricably intertwined.
- We are the shapers of our own apocalypse.
- What is accomplished by force does not last. What is accomplished by love is eternal.
- Those who seek to enter the depths of spirituality (the Way of God) by use of physical, intellectual or emotional force may succeed in raping the superficial but will never gain access to the divine mysteries.
- We cannot embrace the mystery, we can only allow ourselves to be embraced by it.
- We cannot wait until we have true peace of mind before we start working for peace, nor can we wait until the world is at peace before seeking peace of mind.
- It is better not to remember war if all it does is to reinforce ancient antagonisms.
- To remember war without offering forgiveness to former enemies
is only to reinforce soul destroying hatred.
- Peace is not just the absence of war – it is being at home with the most
shadowy parts of our personality, so that we know where our anger is coming from and how to transform it.
- This world will not be a safe place for all human beings until power is in the hands of people who are secure enough to be able to laugh at themselves and the institutions which they control.
- The first step out of violence is to stop viewing oneself, or any part of oneself as an unlovable enemy.
O God whose will it is that we should live in peace, help us to remember past violence in the spirit of forgiveness but at the same time to learn those lessons which that violence can teach us and to apply these insights to the international, national, communal and individual dimensions of our living.
What can we learn from war? (BL)
Within the shadows of our thinking. (BL)
Our hands O God. (BL)
Repaying force with counter force. (BL)
Deep in the human heart. (BL)
When the picture haunts my mind. (BL)
The meek shall inherit the Earth. (BL)
Holy Spirit as you speak. (BL)
Aid will never save the world. (BL)
My desire for you my friend. (BL)
Recalling all our ancient hurts. (BL)
Help us O Christ
God of forgiveness.
As we give we shall receive
Singing the Sacred Vol 1 2011 World Library Publications
AN ACT OF REMEMBRANCE
With compassion we remember all who have died in violent conflict;
civilians and other innocent victims,
servicemen and women,
prisoners of war,
We give thanks for all who have laid down their lives for others and pray that we also may discover that sacrifice is one of the paths that lead to wholeness.
people whose bodies have been mutilated by war, or violated sexually,
people whose minds have become fragmented by violence,
and people whose spirits have become broken by conflict.
May our remembrance of the dead increase our compassion for the living.
We remember the perpetrators of violence,
all who deliberately, unthinkingly or unwillingly
participated in or supported violent action,
all whose minds are so warped that they exalt violence as virtue,
all who regard other groups of people as enemies in whom there is no goodness,
all who are afraid of other political systems, cultures or religious beliefs,
all who consider competition as superior to cooperation.
Almighty God who has made us creatures of passion,
help us to make peace with the violence that lurks within our own psyche.
Give us courage to explore the complexity of our darkness, a willingness to re-experience buried pain and to nurture the love which can redirect our suppressed energies into the cause of justice and peace.
A PARAPHRASE OF PART OF THE PEACE PRAYER OF ST FRANCIS
O loving Christ may I become an instrument of your peace:
Grant that I may learn
To strive but not compete,
To be empowered without seeking to oppress,
To stand tall without looking down on others,
To be aware of my inner wisdom without attempting to inflict it on anyone else.
For it is in letting go that we find peace,
In abandoning arrogance that we find truth
And in taking risks that we find love.
FOCUS FOR ACTION
- What are some of the ways in which we and our ancestors have been both the oppressed and the oppressors, the victims and the manipulators?
- What lessons can we learn from this and what steps can we take to help ensure that history does not simply repeat itself?
- What are some of the misleading labels in our mind or in our society which prevent us from discerning that all political systems, all economic ideologies, all organizations and all individuals consist of a complex mixture of good and bad, oppressive and liberating forces?
Text and image © William Livingstone Wallace but available for free use.