Friday, July 18, 2014

Prayers for Peace

Yesterday we watched reports of two horrific events.  First there was the report of the downing of a Malaysian Airlines plane over the Ukraine-Russian border.  Appears to have been either the separatists or Russians.  All 289 on board are likely dead,  Then comes news that Israel has begun its ground campaign in Gaza.  At the very least, many will die.  Hamas likely will survive, but many innocents will die as Israel tries to defeat its enemy.  General Sherman said that "War is Hell" -- justifying total war.  It is.

I work for and believe in peace, but as a historian as well as a pastor/theologian, I have to agree with Reinhold Niebuhr:

For all the centuries of experience, men have not yet learned h to live together without compounding their vices and covering each other "with mud and with blood."  The society in which each man lives is at once the basis for, and the nemesis of, that fulness of life which each man seeks.   [R. Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics (Library of Theological Ethics), P. 1]  
Despite my Niebuhrian realism (perhaps it's my age that I'm becoming more attuned to Niebhur), I pray for peace.  In that spirit, I share words from Niebuhr's colleague, Harry Emerson Fosdick, as a prayer for our times:

Cure thy children's warring madness,
Bend our pride to thy control;
Shame our wanton selfish gladness,
Rich in goods and poor in soul.
Gant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Lest we miss thy Kingdom's goal.
Lest we miss thy Kingdom's goal.

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