War no More

The other day I found myself carefully folding a used piece of tin foil so I could use it again. Shades of my mother’s early experience of Germany’s terrible economic depression after World War I. That was so long ago and yet this saving thing I learned from her lives on. Turns out, it is environmentally a good thing to do in today’s world. But not all of the past is of repeatable value.

What followed in Germany after that terrible depression and the rise of Hitler is one of history’s darkest times, never to be repeated.

Sometimes, what has been done to us, we do to others. Violence can live on if it is not interrupted. It is said of Putin’s war of March 2022 that memory of the destruction of Leningrad by the Nazis is driving him to invade Ukraine today. We are watching a tragedy unfold before out eyes as the result of one man’s hardness of heart, unresolved rage, and megalomania. Suddenly World War II is in focus again and fear of World War III.

War itself is madness. An outmoded relic of past ages. How can real live men and some women be actually killing other people at some leader’s calculated expression of fear and hatred and need for power as a nation’s leader?

I find myself wondering whether Ukraine’s fighting back can accomplish anything more than yet more death. With the rest of the world, I admire the courage and strength and commitment to freedom of Ukraine’s people and their President. Still, I want the leadership to worry about a third world war. Still, I pray that their resistance will bring Russia to the negotiting table. I also wish that some form of passive resistance would work. War brings such unimaginable suffering and destruction. Ukrainians may still need some non-violent resistance in the future.

I think President Biden’s and Europe’s sanctions are the right move rather than armed engagement. But I am not hearing what I think also needs to be said. War is obsolete, tragic, and unthinkable in the Twenty-First Century. We all shudder at the killing of civilians and the war crimes that are being committed. War is a crime. It is not a strategic game. Still, how do we stop aggressors with their weapons of destruction?

Even the God of Judaism and Christianity who was once seen as a warrior evolved in Scripture would come to be knownow known as a God of justice, mercy, and peace, and love. It seems that in eras past, we were wrong about who God is and what God wills. Still, I find myself wishing that God would swoop down and slay the Putin dragon. But in my heart, I know that even if I pray for that, God will not swoop down. Surely the Holy is in all those offering compassionate care and shelter to those fleeing for their lives and those sheltering in place. And the Holy is calling humanity to wake up.

How do we respond to such deadly aggression in our time? Maybe for awhile, all we can do is fight back even as we pray for peace. And we can support those Russians who protest against Putin and his war. Ultimately though, we have to make clear that war itself is wrong. if we are going to train military personnel for war and killing, deploying them will be an option. The military/ industrial complex is lucrative and global.

We may think we are preparing for a just war and ready to fight for democracy. The trouble is, there will never be a just war anymore. We do need national and international police forces to enforce just laws, and ways to restrain perpetrators of violence and invaders and stealers of the land and lives of others. We need a functional international justice system that works. We cannot survive a war mentality. War is juvenile. The world must nature and come of age. We all must.

While we do what we can to support Ukraine without widening Putin’s War, we need wise people to look ahead. War needs to be declared outmoded, a. thing of the past if we want human beings to survive in this world. We can elect people who stand for a peaceable world, those of us who vote. All of us have attitudes and ethics that carry weight. We all need to lead from within and not from the voices of propaganda..

Let the refrain of this spiritual sing in our hearts and minds and will:

“I ain’t gonna study war no more.”

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