“The lamps are going out all over Europe.
We shall not see them lit in our life-time”
Words attributed to Sir Edward Gray, Foreign secretary at the outbreak of the 1st world war, 100 years ago today: but the start of the “war to end all wars” hasn`t really lived up to that description has it ?
Earlier today I bemoaned on Facebook that it was ironic that on this commemoration day FB was still advertising war games, as if it didn`t really matter. I found myself quite offended by the insensitivity of the matter. Now I`m wise enough to realise that it was a continuous computer link which generated the latest advert onto my screen and not some human being who couldn`t care less.
However it does serve to remind me that the world hasn`t really moved on. For all our fine words and good intentions the world is still a place where evil flourishes in the hearts of many. Alexander Solzhenitsyn once said “The battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man”. In other words we are all capable of good and evil, and too often evil is chosen. Oh yes you and I might not start world wars but we can still be inconsiderate towards our fellow human beings; we can still take hurt when none is intended or cause hurt without any sense of feeling; we can still put our feelings before those of others as if they don`t matter. In other words whilst our mistakes may not cause a world war they still cause dissent and distrust, hurt and pain, suspicion and recrimination.
Look at whats going on in Gaza/Israel or in Russia/Ukraine or even in our own country between Muslims and Christians/the West. We have learnt very little because there seems to be an inbuilt selfishness about us.
Little wonder that our Lord Jesus called upon his followers to `lose self` and follow his way of life; a life of caring for others; a life of putting others first; a life of supreme sacrifice for others. The whole life of Jesus was for others and he calls us to do the same.
I pray every day for peace in the world but I also recognise that it’s no good for me to pray for peace in Afghanistan if I`m thinking bad on my neighbour for then I`m no better than others.
Tonight at 10.00 p.m. we will remember by dimming our lights and lighting a candle but we will also pray for peace in our time, and that our lives may be the means of peace.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.