There are few words needed from me to expound on the messages of remembrance that we are receiving today through all of our music and our prayers. I did want to share that two things:
First, I want to say thank you to all the men and women who were willing to lay their lives down for Queen and country. Whether they live or they die, every person who trains and serves in the Canadian military sacrifices life as they know it. Their lives are forever changed. Today we hold up those who died fighting against evil and oppression in world wars and armed conflicts throughout time and place. I also want to be sure that we hold up all those who serve and have served whose lives are changed by trauma. The men and women who learn defend life in armed conflict are forever changed and it is important that we never forget that although there is a time for war and a time for hate, there is a tremendous personal cost to to every person who participates armed combat and peacekeeping employments. Today we thank each and every one of them and in our gratitude where the time for war and hate are over.
That is the second thing I want to share. Please know that I have a deep and abiding respect for the veterans and members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I do not say these things because I believe that their service has never had merit. I say what I am about to say because I believe that now is the time to bring balance to the time. There has been a time for war and a time for hate, but I truly believe that it is now the time for peace and the time for love.
In an article titled “Dreams of Brighter Tomorrows” that appeared in Ebony Magazine in March 1965, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. suggested “that the philosophy and strategy of non-violence become immediately a subject for study and serious experimentation in every field of human conflict, including relations between nations. This was not, I believe, an unrealistic suggestion. World peace through non-violent means is neither absurd nor unattainable. All other methods have failed. Thus we must begin anew. Non-violence is a good starting point. Those of us who believe in this method can be voices of reason, sanity and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred and emotion. We can very well set a mood of peace out of which a system of peace can be built. Racial injustice around the world. Poverty. War. When man solves these three great problems he will have squared his moral progress with his scientific progress. And more importantly, he will have learned the practical art of living in harmony.” Imagine a world in harmony! (Click here for a link for more quotes on war and peace from Dr. King)
That was 54 years ago and we are nowhere near world-peace. The preacher in Ecclesiastes also spent a lot of time trying to help us understand the balance of the universe – that there is a time for all things including a time for peace. That was almost 3000 years ago… We have been talking about this imbalance for way too long. There has never been a time when the world was completely at peace. Isn’t it time? It has to be!
That might make me sound like a liberal snowflake, a misplaced hippie, or some other kind of idealist. But I truly believe the one I follow and he was just as radical as believing that we could have an earth as it is in heaven. Jesus teaches me that I am commanded to love my neighbour and love God and all the rest of the laws and prophecies will fall into place.
It’s such a simple thing that by our nature is so hard to act upon. It is easier to react violently than it is to respond peacefully in the face of hate, isn’t it? I wish I had the answers, because I truly don’t know how I could react non-violently in all instance, but I do believe it is possible. I have to.
There has to be a better way than this. I believe in the prophecy of Micah who said a time will come when God will settle the disputes for strong nations far and wide and beat their weapons into tools that help care for the land. When nations will no longer be violent against one another and where no one will train for war ever again. Everyone will have a place to call home and no one will be afraid. Everyone will be free to worship God in whatever name they use for God and there will be peace forever and ever.
A few years before that article in Ebony Magazine, Dr. King said, “I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer <that is a dream that is sincere but unlikely to be fulfilled of someone who has their head in the clouds thinking there is such a thing as the perfect life>, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love.” (Click here for the link to the full article)
I believe that is possible and it has to start somewhere. Like the song says, ‘Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” Some may call me an idealist, but I am a realist. I am a realist because I have never been more sure of this: Love is real and it is what we need now more than ever before… May it be so. Amen.