A World with Peace

When my dad was in Vietnam, he wrote a letter home to the local news paper, which was printed, explaining why he felt he was fighting in a war that did not seem overly connected to concerns of the United States by a large portion of the population.  By the time 1968 rolled around, the United States had been involved almost 15 years on some level. and while many believed it was a conflict between France and their colonized nation of Annam or Vietnam. But much like the war in Korea in the 1950's there was something that many Americans felt called to fight and resist, Communism. it was a frightening word to Americans.  so by the time my father was in the Marine Corps fighting in the war in 1968, there was a real fear that Communism would in effect destroy the freedoms and foundation of America and other countries that enjoyed a democratic existence. The cold war was already heated up since the 1950's,the war in Korea was a proxy war much like the war in Vietnam, and the Cuban Missile Crisis happened a few years earlier in 1962.  
So when my dad wrote this letter to the News Paper, he wrote that "he was fighting so t hat his children would never have to fight in a war." I believe my my father was truly sincere when he wrote those words. My brother and I were not yet even thought of yet, however for my father it isn't that he was attracted to fighting or war, He was fighting so that there might one day not be a need to fight wars.

in 1989, about 20 years after my father had written those idealistic hopes that one day there would be peace, it seemed as though that could finally be on the horizon. the symbol that separated the Western world from the Eastern "Communist Block" was dismantled when the Berlin Wall came down. Germany which had been divided since World War II was reunified, families reconnected again, and the world seemed to take a collective sigh of relief after almost a half a century of Cold War Era tension.

the late 1980's and early 1990's were a hope filled time in the world. Systems and structures of division were being dismantled, such as the Apartheid in South Africa, the world seemed to be opening up more and there was a hope filled air of peace that seemed to be coming over the world.  I know that I did not fully understand what all of these things really meant at the time, but now as I look back and remember, it was then that my generation stopped talking about nuclear proliferation and "Mutually Assured Destruction".  It was a time in which the words of Isaiah 2:2-4 seemed to ring so true,  

"In days to come the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.  3 Many peoples shall come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up" sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." 

I am not saying that the world was perfect, but what I was experiencing at that time in my life, it was earth shaking and life altering for good reasons. the world seemed to be seeking ways to pursue peace for many of these situations that had existed for generations.  And at the center of much of these peace talks God was moving.  The night that the Berlin wall began to fall, a church prayer service in Germany, spilled into the streets and others began to join them and then people both praying and taking tools began to dismantle this symbol of hated, oppression and division.  in South Africa, Desmond Tutu was an instrument of God, who helped to guide and foster an atmosphere of grace and forgiveness in the hearts of the leaders despite so many years of racist oppression and iniquity.

But we have not quite gotten to the point which my father had dreamed of, despite taking some steps in that direction. Now it is 2022, and there are new concerns in the world, Russian President Putin has invaded neighboring Ukraine because they have taken a pro west stance. for the first time since 1991, have I seen the images of the USSR Hammer and Sickle image being flown on Russian tanks as they invade a sovereign nation. And Putin has alluded several times to using nuclear Arms against the west, if other nations interfere with his destruction of Ukraine and killing of non-combatant citizens and children; the destruction of apartments, schools, hospitals. And this is of course is after Russia has invaded Ukraine in 2014 and stolen Crimea and instigated a staged uprising in the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine, and after Putin has invaded other nations such as the Republic of Georgia, and Chechnya, and some other former Soviet countries.  Additionally, we are now worried about the tensions that are increasing in China, there is still ongoing fighting in the middle east and in countries in Africa and Asia that many people never even hear about.

Not  only are there rising tensions and increasing wars in the world again, but here at home the infighting that seems to have grown here in America as well.  We are seeing the continued issue of racism raise its head again, the fear driven power struggle between which political party will destroy the U.S. first. not to mention the added stresses of inflation, diseases, unemployment, increased violent crimes and murders.

I know that Peace between human beings is possible when we allow God to be at the center of that peace.  However we often forget that we are a humanity influenced and corrupted by sin. And when we fail to love our God and love our neighbor, we are essentially not being fully  human, but just a perverse corrupted version of humanity.  I believe in all my heart that there will be a day and a time when the world will come to know the peace of our Lord. when we will see each other as neighbors whom we can love rather than enemies.  Our most basic commonality that we throw out the window so quickly in a conflict, is we forget that we are all made by God first and foremost in God's own image. But because of the sin that has corrupted our ability to fully know and understand our creator, we blindly live, acting as though we are our own gods.  But through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, we are forgiven of our trespasses and sin against God and each other, through the power of the Holy Spirit, new life has been breathed into us, and each day we are being renewed in the image of the One we were created in.  Therefore, I continue to hope in a time, when this world will experience the divine peace of our God who reigns over it. It might not be until Jesus returns that we will experience this peace, but if we give our lives to Christ, and live for him alone, you will have eternity to dwell in this peace.

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