Memorial Day Meditation
Make me an Instrument of Peace
Meditations for God’s peaceful people
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God. Matt. 5:9
Today’s meditation: Study War no More
There’s never been a good war nor a bad peace. (Benjamin Franklin Sept 11th 1783)
It’s always been a day of discomfort. I stood on the manicured hillside. The sweat ran down my back making the waist cinched uniform unbearable and smelling of wet wool. My physical discomfort mirrored my internal discomfort. It was memorial day and I was an Anabaptist teen in “the 60’s.” I was in the high school marching band. The taps played and my emotions were summoned to attention as I gazed out at the stark headstones. Had the soldiers felt as uncomfortable in their uniforms as I do in mine? Who were these people beneath the memorials and did they die for a noble cause? I had learned that this is a question one should not ask.
I had a lot of questions: Is it true that violence is the cost of freedom? Do others really have to die so I can live? For each soldier buried here how many others are buried in far off neighborhoods? If all wars end in negotiations then why don’t we just begin with negotiations? Is it unpatriotic to speak of the realities of war? What can the living sacrifice so this does not have to happen again?
The decorated Major General Smedley Butler wrote in the 1930’s that War is a Racket: It Always Has Been and suggests the following:
Three steps must be taken to smash the war racket... We must take the profit out of war... We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be war... We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes." - Major General Smedley D. Butler - USMC Retired - Two-Time Medal of Honor Recipient
Memorial day has always been a day of discomfort - perhaps that is as it should be…
Prayer: Living God who spoke the worlds into existence, speak to our hearts today. Grant us the power of love to comfort those who mourn the beauty lost to war. Infuse us with your perfect love which casts out fear and enliven your creativity within us to resist the war cry and answer the peace cry. Let us never turn away from those who weep.
Action: Read the very short story The War Prayer by Mark Twain and begin lesson one of A Course in Non-violence