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The United Benefice of Withington, Sevenhampton with Charlton Abbots, Hawling, Whittington, Dowdeswell and Andoversford, Shipton and Cold Salperton

This month's letter from the clergy

Wars and rumours of wars

Dear friends,
As I write there are yet again provocative statements coming from both Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. We hope it is just intimidation. But when someone says, “only one thing will work” I think we are right to be worried. The thought of a major outbreak of war, whether nuclear or conventional, is a terrible one. The consequences for the whole world would be awful. We can only pray that hands of violence would be held in check and that a peaceful outcome can be found.

Prayer for peace is a fundamental part of what Remembrance Sunday is all about. We deliberately recall the past, the sacrifices made and the lives lost. We do this partly in thanksgiving, but also to stir us up to ensure that we do all that we can to make the world a more peaceful place. The prayers include the following words:

for peace-makers and peace-keepers, who seek to keep this world secure and free;

for all who bear the burden and privilege of leadership, political, military and religious; asking for gifts of wisdom and resolve in the search for reconciliation and peace.

The commitment is simple but also important the congregation is challenged:

Will you strive for all that makes for peace?
We will

Will you seek to heal the wounds of war?
We will

Will you work for a just future for all humanity?
We will

I believe prayer does make a difference. Although what that difference will be we cannot know. The age old problem of why God allows suffering never goes away. And there have been many wars through the centuries since Jesus warned that there will always be ‘wars and rumours of wars’ Mark 13:7. But that warning came in the context that Jesus will one day return and peace and justice will one day be establishes throughout the world. When we pray and work for peace, we are on the side of the ultimate goal for the world. Whether at Church or at home, do pray for the peace of the world.

Yours,  Colin