I read a meme shared by a teacher on Facebook. “If a child on the playground found a stick and was running around hitting other children, would you give all the other children sticks to defend themselves, or would you take away the one stick?”

My father was a pacifist. But you say, “How can that be if he was a navigator in the RAF (Royal Airforce) during WWII?”

Near the end of the war, he was so convicted by all the people he had been instrumental in killing, he informed his superiors that he would never bomb again! This proclamation so infuriated the top brass that their angry retort was, “Fine! But you are now a mine sweep!” They thought this would deter my father. They did not know him and his stubborn, determined nature. Daddy was dismissed and left headquarters with a grateful heart.

Therefore, with mom’s support, we grew up without guns of any kind in the home, not even toy ones and were sternly reprimanded if we play-acted war with sticks.

This month, all the stores are plastered with back-to-school advertisements. I can’t help thinking of parents sending off their children to schools in which gun violence is lurking. My heart weeps for all the mothers who have lost their babies to school shootings not knowing that as they kissed their children clutching their sack lunches in one hand and waving good-bye with the other, this might be their last farewell.

Timothy Peoples, pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, where my parents attended for years, put my thoughts into eloquent words. “As the world around us is fighting, as the world around us is angry because we can’t make everybody the same, here in the church we live with our differences and that is how we sit at the table together. That is how we run together. That is how we walk together, because that is the community of God.”

Please dear God, let this year be different. Amen.

 

How can you be a peacemaker?

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

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