Dear Mr. President,
We lit the second candle of Advent this morning in our Christian worship service. The candle of Peace. Our prayers were focused on waiting, patiently, for the celebrated birth of the Prince of Peace. Our scripture texts reminded of us journeys in the wilderness. Before the gathered parted company for the week ahead, we sang: Let there be peace on earth. Let it begin with me.
The words stuck in my throat. What, I wondered through tears, do peace and justice oriented people of faith do now, in the midst of escalating war, to begin peace?
We thought we were beginning it as we registered voters, walked neighborhoods, and voted in 2008.
Now, as we have done for the last eight years, we have to imagine peace starting with us in some other way. A dollar to the homeless woman on the street corner? A donation to a microcredit fund? A bowl of soup served to a hungry child? A candle lit in the window? Prayers for people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Israel?
We’re doing all that – we’ve never stopped. Perhaps you can imagine how it all seems like not quite enough.
What would you have been thinking today if you’d sung these words?
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me?
Why can’t the leader of the most powerful , best resourced, most envied nation of the world … the man who will receive the Nobel Peace Prize this week … stand up and say, “We’re finished with war”? Do we have no allies for peace? Would our economies all collapse if our war industries went idle? Is there no real good to be done on this planet with one million dollars, multiplied by 140,000 soldiers, multiplied by 1.5?
What happens if peace begins with you, Mr. President? Will no one else follow? Are there not enough people in the world who will stand in the name of peace with us to face our enemies?
They do seem to be growing weary of standing alongside us in war.
How, Mr. President, do you suggest peace begins? Not “disrupt, dismantle and defeat.”
Any chance it can start with you?