We keep praying for peace.

The definition of madness is to continue doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. But,

We keep praying for peace.

Wars rage in the Middle East. War is a wicked cruel deception that ultra-violence, that organized murder, that death, devastation and waste can bring peace. Yet,

We keep praying for peace.

We have seen this episode before. Israel puts Gaza under seize. It is in effect an open-air prison. Hamas sends rockets into Israel. Israel responds with targeted assassinations. Hamas responds with more violence. Israel responds with even more lethal violence. Civilians die. Children die. Blood and tears flow on both sides, but the deaths are disproportionately Palestinian. God only knows what mathematics, science, medicine, art, music, literature and philosophy die with the last breath of the dead. All of humanity is wounded in the futility and stupidity of war. Still,

We keep praying for peace.

In Syria, a leader in whom there were hopes of reform tragically disappoints. He and his hip cool vogue wife become uncool when he decides that his power ought to be bought and paid for with the blood of his own people. A nonviolent Arab spring becomes a long savage season with both sides committing atrocities. Refugees spill into Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. The suffering is stunning, and winter is coming. Nevertheless,

We keep praying for peace.

Rebels are on the move in Congo. A country that has known much too much war is poised to fall into more God-awful horror. The wealth underneath the ground is simply too inviting. UN peacekeepers watch the rebels march. All of Africa needs a United States of Africa. Even so,

We keep praying for peace.

Our prayers are relentless because the evil of violence and war show no signs of yielding. So, our good must overcome the evil. Our unceasing prayer in obedience to an unceasing demand would be madness, except we sometimes see progress. We prayed for the bad actors in Burma, and we see progress. The generals gave up some of their power. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer under house arrest, and she is now an elected official looking forward to helping her country more forward.

President Obama has become the first sitting president to visit Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar). In his remarks at the University of Yangon, the president sounded just peace themes as he explicated Franklin Roosevelt’s four freedoms – freedom of speech and expression, freedom from want, freedom to worship, and freedom from fear. He spoke of the concept of metta, “the belief that our time on this Earth can be defined by tolerance and by love.”

He spoke of the importance of citizens in politics. People lined the streets waving American flags, hoping that the president would bring the things that would lead to a better life. The truth is that the president cannot establish their democracy. He said: “You’re the ones who are going to have to seize freedom, because a true revolution of the spirit begins in each of our hearts.”

True revolution not only begins in each of our hearts, but in each of our minds. It is imperative that we free our minds from the deception of the paradoxical logic that war can lead to peace, that violence can pave the way to nonviolence. It cannot.

We keep praying for peace because our prayers have the capacity to change the way we think, and how we act, and what we require from our leaders. We keep praying for peace in faith believing that there is someone in the great somewhere who hears and understands the language of our tears. We keep praying for peace because we know that in our prayers of gratitude we find our own personal peace. We keep praying for peace because the radical love that is the essence of the Divine gives us the strength to keep on keeping on; it will not let us quit. We keep praying for peace because we believe in a brighter coming day when all of humankind, nature and creation will enjoy sustenance and joy.

Happy Thanksgiving.


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