November is a month where we remember. For many of us, it is a time of intense remembering of family members who were in the military during a war. My oldest brother was in Vietnam with the navy. My father was in the merchant marine in WWII. My grandfather on my father’s side was in the trenches in WWI. Other family members were in the Boer War in South Africa around 1900. It is only recently that I have put all these facts together in an emotional way. These men were exceptionally impacted by their military service. They all brought the impacts of the wars back home through their inner life and struggles. Everyone who has known them has known this. We too were impacted by war.
As a culture and with the agreement of governments, we continue to honour those who have served. We remember they gave themselves to the cause against dictators and rulers who would have conquered their regions and possibly the world. War is the ultimate expression of divisions and lack of agreement.
Many of us feel there is a war on in fighting the pandemic, with many different perspectives on that war. Many of us feel there is a war on in addressing denominational doctrinal changes. We know both of these are still not exactly the wars that my brother, my father, my grandfather and millions of others fought.
We want peace because we don’t want to have to send anyone else out to experience what they experienced as they experienced it. I wish I could tell you the answer to the worlds’ divisions, in terms of wars…Scripture notes that the history of this world will end with great wars. I remember a former Secretary in the US cabinet telling me that’s why the US keeps building up its military. He said they want to win in the War of Armageddon. I am still shocked by this statement twenty years later.
What are we to learn as we remember? We are to appreciate the cost of war. We are to reflect on what it has done to our families, and countless families ended with those lives lost. James wisely asks us to consider, “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you?...” (James 4:1, NASB) We can also take responsibility for our own attitudes and actions as we face divisive and difficult issues in our lives. It takes courage to do so. I hope you have trusted ones to listen to you, care for you and support you as you choose to do this. We all need individuals and small groups for the context to work through our quarrels and conflicts.
Ultimately we need the Lord. Jesus gave himself in the ultimate sacrifice for us to prove His friendship and His love. Lean in close to Him in these days.