Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Blog for Peace

Before checking out my favorite blog friends’ posts today, I didn’t know it was “Blog for Peace” day. Who doesn’t want peace? Well, there are obviously those who don’t, i.e., check out the whole globe where killing and hatred abound—hence the topic of the day.

I wasn’t going to say anything about this topic because it is so wide, and so deep, and so . . . should I say, divisive? We’re all filled with deeply felt passions about the problems facing us and our nation(s) and the world in general. So, thinking long and hard about this opportunity, I’m venturing to share some of my thoughts on the subject. Not without fear and trepidation. My goal is not to step on ones toes or deeply held beliefs, but simply to share my own thoughts, beliefs, etc. on this topic.

I am the daughter of an Army officer. As a young child, I saw the results of World War II first hand—in Japan and in Germany. It touched me deeply then and now. War is horrible and sometimes unavoidable. (The Bible, Old Testament, as only one available historical record—is filled with accounts of wars and why they occurred.) My perspective is that defense is essential for the preservation of peace—when someone wants to relieve me or others of that commodity. There will, I believe, always be those who are so self-centered that they desire power, wealth, and everything attached thereto for only themselves at the exclusion of all others. And at nearly all cost.

There are also those who desire peace at any cost, even to the point of allowing themselves to lose everything but the air they breathe, it seems, to avoid conflict.

These two opposing view points exist in this world, and a multitude of others between them. It seems a simple solution is impossible to attain.

Some time ago, during a church service, my mind was brought to attention as our congregation sang America the Beautiful. Yes. As a hymn. I believe it is a deeply heart-felt prayer and could apply to any people in any nation anywhere on this planet.

Ponder, if you will, these words:

“…God shed his grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea.”

I honestly believe that we are literally all brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of God, no matter our points of origin, color, race or station in life. Well, sure, you might say. Brothers and sisters get into fights from time to time. Truly we do. But we shouldn’t. And if we do, we should both forgive, and forget, and improve the communication and caring for each other, right? Rather than escalating the disagreement.

Next line in the hymn–this is the one that jumped out at me—goes:

“…God mend thine ev’ry flaw, Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.”

It goes on in subsequent lines:

“…May God thy gold refine, till all success be nobleness, and ev’ry gain divine.”

So, from those words I understand that self-control, not self-absorption, is essential to liberty. When we care as much for each of our brothers and sisters everywhere as ourselves, we will find not only liberty from strife, but peace sublime. It’s not an easy task. Just read the histories from Adam and Eve all down through mortal time.

I remind my children—and myself—from time to time that refining gold is a really tough experience. The raw ore is placed in a container and subject to intense heat. This process causes the metal to melt and lose its former status as a solid entity and become liquid. (Simply put, it hurts-grievously.) In its liquid state, all the impurities come to the surface and are burned off—as I understand it. Only after that intense, burning, melting down process where everything impure is purged, is the metal pure. It isn’t pleasant to be the gold being refined. We have to give up our egocentricity and replace it with following God’s directions to love our brothers as ourselves, just as His Only Begotten Son did/does for us.

I believe, that when we place God first in everything we do and treat others like we want to be treated—without rolling over and playing dead—we’ll be closer to heavenly peace than we currently are.

Please, with all that said, don’t get the impression that I’ve mastered that plan. I certainly have not. I struggle with my own issues of thinking some people are stupid, aggravating and so on and so on. I have a long way to go in many areas of my life, but my goal is to work on me. I can’t work on anyone else.

Thank God for agency—or as some refer to it “free will”. It is a sacred gift from God. Some individuals’ goal is to remove (or diminish) that sacred gift of agency from the rest of us. With the gift come the consequences of how we use or abuse it. There are always consequences for every choice we make. Good choices=good consequences. Bad choices, well you know the answer.

We really don’t need more stuff in our lives—though we seem to ever strive to have more stuff. We need the pure love of Christ, and we get that by unselfishly giving of our time, talents and means to those in need. Not by government legislation, but out of personal, genuine concern for the welfare of others. (Governments, in my opinion, aren't able to legislate goodness. It's personal choice for good that results in goodness.) May God grant us all more peace as we strive to follow the path of His Son who lived and died for us that we might enjoy eternal peace, is my prayer.

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