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A Prayer for Peace

September 21, 2022
As the sun rose on our walk this morning we beheld God’s glory and peace

Today is the International Day of Peace. Denise and I put together and led services at Presbyterian Community Church of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado each September. They were a reminder to our congregation and to us that peace is life-giving and essential to the future of this world. I have been thinking a lot about Thomas Merton, Martin Luther King Jr, Dorothy Day, Daniel, Philip Berrigan, Jim Forest, and so many others who raised their voices for peace in the midst of the insanity that was the war in Vietnam and the Nuclear arms race.

As I hear Vladimir Putin threaten Ukraine and the world with tactical nuclear weapons my heart hurts deeply. I have watched the rise of christian (yes, the lower case is intentional) nationalism and white supremacy, my heart breaks. Have we learned nothing from history? The history of Hitler, Mussolini, and their followers who touted the marriage of christianity and state? Have we learned nothing from so many other examples throughout the world?

With these thoughts in mind, I thought a portion of Thomas Merton’s “Prayer for Peace” which can be found in the book, Passion for Peace (pp. 166-169). Merton’s prayer was read in the House of Representatives the Wednesday of Holy Week in 1962 by Congressman Frank Kowalski (D-Conn.).

Help us to be masters of the weapons that threaten to master us.
Help us to use our science for peace and plenty, not for war and
destruction. Save us from the compulsion to follow our adversaries
in all that we most hate, confirming them in their hatred and
suspicion of us. Resolve our inner contradictions, which now
grow beyond belief and beyond bearing. They are at once a torment
and a blessing: for if you had not left us the light of conscience,
we would not have to endure them. Teach us to wait and trust.

Grant light, grant strength and patience to all who work for peace.
But grant us above all to see that our ways are not necessarily
your ways, that we cannot fully penetrate the mystery of your
designs and that the very storm of power now raging on this earth
reveals your hidden will and your inscrutable decision.

Grant us to see your face in the lightning of this cosmic storm,
O God of holiness, merciful to men. Grant us to seek peace where
it is truly found. In your will, O God, is our peace.

As we used to sing at our midweek Season of Peace, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

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