The War To End All Wars: Will We Ever Learn?

The Northumberland (UK) members of The Community of Aidan and Hilda met overnight at Holy Island's Open Gate to renew their vows, share their life pilgrimage stories, and break bread together. Seven members joined with the three staff for a meaningful nineteen hours. One member, Maureen, is making many poppies for a Remembrance of the end of World War 1.

A German city also displays a multitude of poppies to remember those on all sides who died in the world wars. Throughout UK and other countries special ceremonies are held to commemmorate the end of the First World War one hundred years ago.  In my town, as in countless others, the names of every local combatant who died will be read out during a civic vigil.

'Never again must there be a war' people said of 'the war to end all wars', but they did not listen to the truth that war is the price we pay for the selfishness of nations.  Now, the structures of peace, based upon shared values and trade, are being dismantled. 'Me first' and  'My country first' dominate  social media and win votes.

The Book of Revelation paints horrific pictures of what happens to the world when we turn our backs on God.  These ghastly portraits of seas of blood and lakes of fire can be dismissed as irrelevant to modern concepts. Yet this week I listened to Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man: a Mass for Peace performed by choirs. It contains these words, no less striking than those in the Book of Revelation, describing the effect of the Hiroshima bomb of 1945 on the animals, from the Hindu epic Mahabharata: 

the animals scattered in all directions

Screaming terrible screams.

Many were burning, others were burnt.

All were shattered and scattered mindlessly.

Their eyes bulging,

Some hugged their sons,

Others their fathers and mothers,

Unable to let them go,

And so they died.

Others leapt up in their thousands,

Faces disfigured

And were consumed by the fire.

Everywhere bodies squirming on the ground,

Wings, eyes and paws all burning.

They breathed their last as living torches.

'RememberWar:MakePeace' by KM Publishing includes Remembrance  material from David Adam and myself,

as does pages 229-232 of 'Liturgies From Lindisfarne`.

Our Way of Life commits us to peace-making and building responsible societies. Please  God a

new generation will  take this up. If you would like to do this, please contact me at <revd.ray.simpson@btinternet.com>

Posted at 15:41pm on 4th November 2018
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