Lest we forget.
I have always had a complicated relationship with Remembrance Day. Not because I do not honour or respect the cause for such a day, or the people we honour. But because of my ongoing and growing understanding of my own convictions on peace and pacifism. It is a complicated place to be, understanding the wars of the past and the reason why our Nations have been involved, but also believing in convictions of a peace perspective.
“Blessed are the peacemakers”
When Jesus said those words, and I truly believe that he did, he did not issue a light task. And there are many interpretations from the entire spectrum of belief on war. A peacemaker is understood as one who deliberately enforces the making of peace on another, or in another’s situation; but it is also the one who seeks to create peace before it comes to drastic measures. Historically, both have been right. And both are very necessary.
I recalled a memory today while having coffee with my son, about a unique situation growing up. Being a Mennonite in a landscape filled with Mennonites, I rarely saw anything militaristic or in uniform, unless they were on TV or in a different area. On one of my dad’s frequent coffee trips to a local town, where I would go along excitedly and then slowly drift into ‘bored to tears’ mode, I happened upon someone in uniform. At the coffee shop no one planned to meet, they just all showed up at different times and grabbed an empty seat. On this occasion, an older gent in a Canadian Legion uniform came in, grabbed a coffee and sat down with my dad. I read his name plate and quickly realized he had a ‘Mennonite’ last night. I looked up to my dad, and not so quietly (as was normal for me) asked, “I thought Mennonites we can go to war?”
They both chuckled, and he simply said, “Some did.”
That is probably where my wrestling match with a peace position really started. That simple statement, that simple realization. Some did, some did not. Some do, some do not. Some will, something will not. And God is at work in both. The peacemaker is still blessed, even if we do not fully understand.
Happy Remembrance Day, and thank you to those who have served.