Remembrance Sunday musings. My father and two of his brothers served in the British Army during the First World War. Amazingly, they all returned—although two were rather the worse for wear. Along with many other officers, my father had taken a camera with him. However, as a boy I remember being disappointed that his photographs did not show the things I wanted to see. There were snapshots of places he had visited, historic sites, landscapes, his horse, but little evidence of the war he was fighting. I understand his perspective far better now. Any stories he shared were almost invariably humorous anecdotes with only an occasional comment on some incident related to battle. Typically those who fought were almost universally reticent to speak of the brutality and brutalising effects of war. One of his brothers had a hand grenade (emptied!) turned into the base of a table lamp. When this came into my hands it was taken apart, so our boyhood games could be more realistic. I would much prefer to have the lamp today.
Going to war is an extraordinary human obsession born of a twisted logic that violence provides a necessary solution for resolving areas of disagreement, or a way forward for a faction or nation to protect or expand its interests. The Just War theory from the time of S. Augustine (further developed several centuries later by S. Thomas Aquinas), which the Church by-and-large has adopted, is no longer regarded as tenable. There is, though, no simplistic answer for resolving every area of human disagreement. It is, for example, argued by many that a military solution is the only immediate means of restoring order and stemming the spread of terrorism in the Middle East. One sad outcome of any military intervention is that it so often involves sacrificing many of the ideals that it is trying to uphold!
Powerful nations continue to make huge profits from selling arms. This year a new record has been set for sales of armaments world-wide. And it would seem that military hardware containing all the latest sophisticated technology has an effect of engendering a nation’s pride. Alongside this has to be placed the tragic—almost unspeakable—stories of shattered families and countless lives destroyed or maimed, as well as the creation as at the present moment of hundreds of thousands of refugees.
The springs of good and evil are within ourselves. The kind of world we live in is made by the kind of people who live in it. There is no such thing as fear or hate. There are only individuals who fear and hate. If people were changed, these forces would be gone. (James Reid).
Lamentably, hate and suspicion and bitterness often seem to surface in human relationships much more readily than love and trust and reconciliation. We can choose to create peace or strife. We can make all the difference to someone else for good or ill. Jesus’ words, “In everything treat others as you would have them treat you”, are a vital principle for living Christianly. Earlier this month, in our Church Calendar we remembered Te Whiti o Rongomai. May he continue to be an inspiration to all the people of this country in living out the Gospel of Peace. Pope John Paul II once said, “Communities who stand together in their acceptance of Jesus’ supreme message of love, expressed in peace and reconciliation, and in their rejection of all violence, constitute an irresistible force for achieving what many have come to regard as impossible and destined to remain so.”
Yours in Christ,
Canon Craufurd Murray
- Morning tea will be in the parish lounge today and next Sunday morning.
- Wedding: Helen Matthews & Mark Saunders. Parishioners are invited to this celebration, with special music, on Saturday at 2:30 pm.
- Stocktake and updating terrier/church inventory: Vestry and other volunteers needed tomorrow 11:00 am in the lounge. Many hands make light work. Details Michael Graveston.
- Meditation Group: Tuesday 5:15 pm in lounge. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215).
- Women’s Fellowship: final meeting for the year Tuesday in the lounge after the 10:00 am Mass (at 10:45 am). Jill Woodside will share ideas for Christmas decorations. Details Pat Evans phone (358 0127).
- Bible Study Group meets next on 21 November, 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
- Needlework Group: final meeting for the year, Christmas DVD viewing and supper, 22 November. Details to follow from Ros Calvert (322 6078).
- Advent Carol Service: plan now to attend this special S. Michael’s service of readings and music to mark the beginning of Advent, 27 November at 7:00 pm.
- Sales Table: Sundays after Mass. Offers of help with baking or for setting up would be appreciated. Please speak to Anne Ladd (981 5012).
- Advance Notice—Christmas Sales Table organised by the Women’s Fellowship, 4 December in the hall. Christmas gifts for friends and family—baking (including small Christmas cakes), craft, decorations etc. Proceeds towards new choir robes. Further details to follow.
- Marmalade available on the sales table. Empty jars to the box in the lounge please.
- Book Swap: Sundays after Mass and weekdays in the lounge.
- Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Jill Woodside.
- Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.