Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. -John 14:27
Last night I fell asleep plagued with thoughts and worry about the air strikes on Syria. They were launched, apparently in conjunction with England and France. I felt ill as I drifted off, but somehow I did sleep. When I awakened I was temporarily free from worry as I stumbled about in the kitchen making coffee. When it was brewed I wandered off to my prayer corner in the living room and began to read a daily devotional. Only then did the thought permeate the fog of a quiet, sleepy moment… We have started something terrible.
Syria’s chemical attacks on their own nation is a disgraceful and cowardly act. Syria is backed by Russia, a country that has seemingly done terrible things to our nation due to hacking, bots, and other election related troublemaking. The leader of our country has tried to direct attention away from that and this, as you well know, has caused a tremendous amount of strain on our government and society. Now that we have struck Syria, Russia is poised to side with them and retaliate in some way. Iran is also in the mix, aligned with Russia and Syria. It is not a pretty picture.
With tax day so near, and with war so close, I recall the actions of retired Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen. In 1982 he purposefully did not pay part of his income tax as a protest against nuclear arms. The government garnished his wages to take the money owed, but he did place his originally withheld portion into the World Peace Tax Fund. I am not sure if this is the same one or not, but such a thing still exists.
Today I am focusing my prayers and my actions on making peace in the world. I cannot go to Syria, I cannot personally change the mind of our president or the direction of our military operations, but I can do this. In order to bring forth peace, I must in some way embody peace.
I’m not exactly sure what this will look like, but I am sure of pursuing actions that are rooted like a mighty oak in the soil of peace. What will you pursue this day? Will you accept the peace that was given to us by Christ? Will you beat some sword of yours into a plowshare? As I said – it is a work in progress here. Will you join me? Will you help me? Can I help you? All I know is that my natural tendency to anger and my vitriol towards others, pollutes the sea of peace that is essential to God’s world. Today, please God, help me to change.