On November 11, it will be 100 hundred years that the sirens went off all over Canada to announce that the War to end all Wars was over. Myrtle Wetzel, a former school teacher, told me years ago that she heard the siren in Moorfield, and the community knew that the war had ended. Unfortunately, as we all know, it did not become the last war that the world would fight.
On the Remembrance Day ceremony on November 4, Scott Sinclair, the pastor at Gale Presbyterian, reminded the community that World War I ended, but we are still searching for peace in our world.
Women, and men, of the #MeToo movement have painfully told the world, that this earth is not a peaceful place for women. The workplace is not safe, our churches are not safe, and our sidewalks are not a safe place for women to walk at night. We have much work to do.
I work for Mennonite Central Committee, and one of our taglines for our group, is to work for Peace in all of what we do in the world. A Zimbabwean/Nigerian Church leader told our staff last spring that “ if we do not have peace, there will be no development in the world “. So, all of our work in economic and agricultural development will have no effect,if there is no peace in all areas of the world. If there is a threat of violence, none of our work will be helpful.
And why does America have so many mass shootings ? This fall has been especially bloody. It is complex. Some of the shootings are wrapped up in mental health issues. Others are about racism towards all people. And other massacres have been around religious hatred. Most of these shootings are done by white males. Why do middle aged white men feel so threatened in a society that advocates for freedom ? It is also about anger, and why do angry people think of picking up a weapon to resolve the anger in their lives ?
“ Jesus is our Peace “ Ephesians 2:14. The writer, Paul from Tarsus, and an early church leader was speaking to two groups in this community of ancient Turkey, who did not get along. They were ethnically and culturally different. He also says that Jesus broke down the wall between these two groups, so that they could live in harmony.
But, Christians cannot even agree what peace looks like today. Some feel we should defend ourselves against all threats to our way of life. We need to help God along in making sure we are safe through the threat of violence. I disagree, but let us talk. What would Jesus think that we should do, and how we should act ? I am not asking what would Jesus do, because he is the Messiah and Saviour, but what should I and the church be doing to break down the walls between people and societies ?
The most recent mass shooter in the US was a young Marine veteran, who might have suffered from PTSD. All those things are complex issues to deal with in a young person’s life. What can we do ?
What role can my/our relationship with Jesus Christ play in lessening the violence in my world ? Saying that Jesus is “my peace” is only a start to a lifelong journey of complex peacemaking in the world. It is never easy, but I think we need to walk a life of peace. We should never forget.