‘…To end all wars’

Published 8:54 am Thursday, November 10, 2016

Isaiah 2:4 declares “The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.”  On Armistice Day, Nov, 11, 1918, the forces in Europe signed a tentative cease-fire and ached for this vision. It followed a hellish season in human history where our technology had out-sped our tactics and gouged and scarred the very face of the earth as well as the lives of millions of soldiers and civilians. Those who had seen it up close warned that it should ever be “the war to end all wars.”

Sadly, this was not the last war.  Even now, people are dying due to armed conflict every day in our world, and some are working to quicken the pace.  Some situations make the news and some do not. And, so, there are those who offer their time, their talents and some their very lives to stand sentinel-guard. I grew up surrounded by people of every branch, serving in the military bases around the Chesapeake Bay. To a person, they stood ready to be used if necessary, but prayed earnestly for Isaiah’s vision to be realized.

This Friday, we observe Veterans Day.  We remember the countless citizen-soldiers of our country, those who are neighbors and those we will never know.  They have offered themselves to be ready to stand as our national anthem recalls, “between their loved home and the war’s desolation.” Their courage deserves our respect. Their selflessness deserves our thanks. Their efforts to stand prepared deserve our support.  Their sacrifice — in all forms — deserves our collective prayers and faithful daily progress to live out the command of Jesus in John 13:34, “As I have loved you, so you shall love one another.” 

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As I write this, tomorrow is Election Day. We are on the verge of electing our next commander-in-chief.  By the time you read this, the ballots shall all have been cast, and perhaps the results announced. Truth be told, whoever is elected, the job will be more than they can do alone. That person will rely upon the character, readiness and sacrifice of millions of others who step forward to serve. May all they and we do together make this world a better place.

Rev. Michael P. Kendall is Lead Pastor of Farmville United Methodist Church and can be reached at mkendall@farmvilleumc.org or 434-392-4686.