At 11am today millions of people kept a 2mins silence to mark the end of the 1st World War. I looked at my watch too late, but this blog post is a way of remembering all those who die in wars and conflicts and through terrorism.
Peter Millar, (a global peace campaigner and member of the Iona Community,) wrote a letter to his young granddaughter on the day of her Dedication/Blessing, of his hopes for her as she grows up. This next bit struck me as being most apt for today.
You will soon learn that we live in violent times. There are wars and rumours of wars in many parts of our interconnected world. Terrible poverty touches the lives of billions of people. Sadly, one of the causes of these wars is religion. So my hope is (my prayer is) that you will always be open to those who walk on a path other than Christian. May you be able to see the beauty and wisdom and truth in other cultures, traditions and faiths, while remaining true to your own understanding. There is no place in our world for religious intolerance – which is why it is crucial for you to embrace both cultural and human diversity in love. I love the prayer which says “Stay with us, Lord, for the day is far spent and we have not yet recognised your face in each of our sisters and brothers” Without this wide compassion, the world in which you are growing up will only become a place rent asunder more and more by war, famine and increasing injustice. Never make your God too small or too domesticated.
Ministers, Pastors and Priests will be leading services all over the UK this coming Sunday, in which they try to keep in balance gratitude for sacrifice and honour of the dead, whilst at the same time not glorifying wars and violence. Remembrance Sunday was always a day which moved me greatly, especially the open-air short services at War Memorials. As the generations who lived through the World Wars die, my generation has a responsibilitiy to remember and to learn lessons.
Peter finished the letter with a beautiful Celtic Blessing, which I would wish for all of us this day and every day.
May the raindrops fall
lightly on your brow.
May the soft winds
freshen your spirit.
May the sunshine
brighten your heart.
May the burdens of the day
rest lightly upon you.
And may God enfold you
in the mantle of his love.