November 28
Larry Garber

He shall judge between the nations
    and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation;
    neither shall they learn war any more.  Isaiah 2:4

When one reads this, an obvious response is OH MY. How can it be that there will no longer be weapons of war? How can it be that nations will not fight each other?  Obviously, universal peace is desirable – who would argue against such – but peace between nations?

Recent events such as the invasion of Ukraine suggest that world leaders are not in tune with this verse. Is this a result of not consulting with Church leaders and other learned individuals? I suggest not. The Russian Orthodox Church is highly supportive of war against Ukraine. Other Church leaders condemn it. How can it be that leaders within the same faith community are disagreeing? Are some leaders listening to God and others not? Only God can judge.

This verse provides an argument for pacifism which was utilized successfully by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Conscientious objectors say instead of war we should use dialogue and other non-violent means to arrive at solutions for our differences.  Critics suggest that dialog of this nature is unrealistic. In fact, they point out that appeasement before World War II did not prevent war. The fact that discussions between opponents is not always successful does not mean we should give up. The Camp David Accords, the Dayton Agreement, and the Good Friday Agreement are examples of agreements that led to peace after years of conflict. If only we could have agreements for peace before wars start.

Much is occurring locally in support of justice and peace. Many inside and outside of Grace are actively involved in our extended communities to aid the less fortunate and support justice and equality. This non-violent activism demonstrates our love for all people, just as Jesus showed His love to all.

I am reminded of the song Jesus loves the little children. The first verse states  “…all the children of the world, red, brown, yellow, black, and white, …” Maybe we should replace “the little children” with “all the people.” If we each adopted the philosophy that all are created equally, we might begin to experience a greater degree of peace. 

Oh Lord, may all seek your guidance as we attempt to resolve issues of conflict. May we continue to advocate for justice and peace for all irrespective of race, color, gender, or religion. Amen.

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