Beyond remembrance, we are called as the disciples of Jesus to be blessed peacemakers.
November 11 reminds us that we live in a world of ongoing conflict. Truly, as the pausing on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month so starkly signifies, we at best acknowledge only armistice, “an agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a certain time, a truce” as the dictionary defines it.
Conflict may cease to be a raging and consuming fire, but the troublesome embers remain and are easily set ablaze again.
November 11 is a national remembrance that peace is not cheap. Peace is costly, complicated and requires commitment to the work of peacemaking. Blessed peacemakers, as Jesus called His disciples in Matthew 5:9, have an everyday task in the smallest of disputes and the most disastrous and expansive of wartime theatres.
As we move on from a day where our society paused and remembered, the Peace and Reconciliation Network calls Christians to an ongoing remembrance of all who have been impacted and continue to be impacted by war and the evil that comes with war.
And, beyond remembrance, we call the disciples of Jesus to be blessed peacemakers.
We invite you to pause and reflect on the following prayer:
God of Love and Mercy, Justice and Righteousness, we silence ourselves before your glory and goodness.
We humbly confess we need you and this world needs you. We confess on behalf of this generation our warring against you and one another. We lament that this continues, and we pledge ourselves to be formed more and more by the Spirit of Christ.
We recognize the great and costly sacrifices and losses that have come before us, and we remember that the goal of war is not winning a fight but ultimately about bringing peace.
We remember and look to the way of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who alone can restore our broken and hurting world. Jesus gave Himself so that we could have eternal peace with you our Creator and Heavenly Father, and experience the fullness of life which He sacrificed Himself to make a way for.
We remember that conflict is still active in many nations and communities around the world today. We pray for and stand with those who are hurting, displaced and enslaved by evil.
We have remembered, but we know we are not to be bystanders or perpetrators, and neither are we to simply identify as victims. Rather, we are to be the children of God, ambassadors of Christ’s reconciliation, responding to His call to love our neighbours and go as Jesus sent His followers to make disciples of all nations and to live for a common future of where His kingdom is established.
As God’s people we stand and in live in the hope of Jesus who is Himself our peace.
Jesus, you are the Prince of Peace, and we thank and praise you. We pray for shalom, for peace beyond the absence of war, where swords are beat into plowshares, enmity is transformed into friendship, and every child finds rest and need not grow up in fear or trained to hate. We ask that you bless those who are working for peace in your name.
We mourn with those who have suffered loss and pain through war and violence. We ask that they know and experience the hope that is found in you. Jesus, you are our redeemer, our living hope, light in the darkness that still pervades, and the word of truth.
So, as we have remembered, we look to you and choose to participate in your kingdom, to be active peacemakers in all that we do together, in our homes, our churches, our community and the world.
This is a collaborative work of Greg Reed, a member of Waterloo Mennonite Brethren Church in Ontario, and Manuel Böhm and Phil Wagler who serve the World Evangelical Alliance’s Peace and Reconciliation Network. Photo of candles by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash. This blog series is produced in collaboration with the WEA PRN. Read all the posts at faithtoday.ca/reconciling.