February 2006 - Volume 10, Issue 7

Editorial - Bring A Greater Amount Of Peace

By Rev. Mark Connolly

I wish there were a way that we could raise a magic wand and end the terrible war in Iraq and bring all our young men and women home to America. But we know that is an impossibility. I am sure the people in Iraq would love to find some way to have their country at peace and to get one with the work of life and living. When you talk about this element of war, it always seems so far removed from our every day way of living. If you analyze the ingredients of war, anger, hatred, bigotry, and all the negatives that create war like personalities, it is a reminder to each one of us maybe we can do a little more on the home front and in our personal lives to make what Christ spoke about a reality when he said, "my peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you".

Photo of a quiet stream in a forest

There is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of American troops would love to be home with their families experiencing the joy of family life. Each one of us has within our personality the components and the characteristics of bringing more peace into our own country and into our own families and into our own lives. When you analyze the teaching of Jesus Christ, who certainly knew what hatred and bigotry were all about, you might recall that he preached a gospel of peace. The methodologies he used were simple ones - basic charity, basic kindness, basic compassion and the willingness to forgive. All of those qualities have been mentioned for the last 2,000 years and even though they have been mentioned all during this time, we go from one war to the next. In our own civil war in our country, we lost over 650,000 young men and women because of slavery, bigotry and prejudices. Throughout the world if you analyze the leadership from the Russian Empire from Stalin to Lenin right down to the recent leaders, we have lost over 50 million people all because of war.

When you look at the magnitude of war and how it is so beyond what any individual can do, it is very easy to become pessimistic and frustrated. Maybe we have to realize we cannot stop many of these wars outside our own native shores, but we can do more by implementing the teachings of Christ and bringing charity and compassion, kindness and forgiveness to those with whom we live and work. We know it is not a great answer to this great problem of war, but in those areas where these qualities are practiced, there is an element of peace that is experienced by all who are trying to do what Christ wanted them to do while on this earth.

If you go back to the end of the Vietnam war, you might remember that it took over four years to establish a shaky peace treaty with Vietnam. They argued for months over what sort of a table they should use to discuss the peace treaty they were trying to negotiate. In that time, thousands of lives were still lost. If you study the life of Christ you might recall that he made it very clear from the womb to the tomb all life is sacred. All life is special in the eyes of God. None us probably will ever march off to war again. Praise God we might never have to. But in the meanwhile while our leaders search for techniques to bring peace into this troubled world, each one of us can implement the teachings of Jesus Christ that guarantee personal peace. When Jesus Christ spoke and said, "my peace I give onto you, my peace I leave unto you", he gave us each a map of life as to how we could personally contribute to the peace of this world. Oh yes, it is on a limited scale. It might start with your family and my family, but it has the possibility of spreading to other families and other countries. If we spread his compassion, his charity, his kindness, his forgiveness, each one of us will hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the kingdom that I have prepared for you". This theology might not solve all wars, but it certainly will bring a greater amount of peace into the lives of those with whom we live and work.