Saturday, March 10, 2007

Wartime Prayers and Meditations

Its now going on 5 (five) years since the war(s) began. I believe it is long past time for us as a collective body or a community of saints to deal forcefully and directly with the subject in public, unified prayer. Its long past time for us to push past whatever barriers, real or imagined that are preventing us from exercising the one true and legitimate tool we have for dealing with the World and its tragedies and conflicts. It is said that all things work for the glorification of God- the situation at hand is a tremendous opportunity for such.

Wartime Prayers and Meditations

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

"To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world."
— Karl Barth

True Christians do not know vengeance. They are the children of peace. Their hearts overflow with peace. Their mouths speak peace, and they walk in the way of peace.
-- Menno Simons (1496 - 1561)

Wartime prayers and meditations enable us to be present with what is happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and elsewhere. As we use prayers and meditations from the religious traditions, we come into the presence of the great suffering with open hands, minds, and hearts.

Wartime prayers and meditations enable us to bear witness to many dimensions of the wartime situation:

• with the fear and the vulnerability of soldiers on both sides of the battle;
• with the mixture of bravado and confusion experienced by commanders in the war;
• with the anger and the hatred of those who injure or kill;
• with the agony and pain of those who are injured or killed;
• with the grief of parents who have lost a son or daughter;
• with the sorrow of those mourning fallen comrades;
• with the worry of relatives of those missing or taken as prisoners;
• with the anxiety and the suffering of the civilians in Iraq;
• with the despair of those who have lost their homes and workplaces;
• with the cries and trembling of hungry and tense children;
• with the yelps and screeches of terrified animals;
• with the agony of the earth pulverized by bombs and bullets;
• with the shock of buildings blown to bits by missiles from the sky;
• with the dismay of city streets and parks bruised and battered by the fighting;
• with the abandonment of shot down or wrecked equipment left in the desert;
• with the pressures felt by journalists to tell the truth about the war;
• with the desperation of viewers around the world seeking to learn the truth about the war;
• with the yearning of relief organizations and medical professionals to reach and assist those in desperate need of food and healing;
• with the frustration of those who see this as a justifiable war of liberation; and
• with the anguish of those who see it as a tragic misuse of American power.

Wartime prayers and meditations enable us to experience an ever-deepening awareness of God's presence and
• to express our unity with others,
• to cultivate peace and justice,
• to manifest forgiveness and compassion,
• to practice empathy and hospitality,
• to find common ground with those who are different from us,
• to reach out to all those who are helpless and hopeless,
• to become God's emissaries of love, reconciliation, and renewal.

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