Imagine all the people 0
If the old adage is indeed true, that ‘every picture tells a story,’ then the office wall of my pastor's study has more than a hundred tales to tell.
Thumb-tacked to the middle of the wall is the front page of the Ottawa Citizen from November 10, 2008. The Remembrance Day edition with the superscription "Faces Of The Fallen," shows the pictures of the 97 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat who had died up until that point in the War in Afghanistan.
To its left from the Remembrance Day edition of the previous year 2007, a young soldier with both legs amputated as a result of an improvised explosive device (IED), aided by prosthetic limbs and walking canes, cautiously makes his way along a pathway. His little boy, walking slowly beside his dad, looks on pensively.
Beneath him in another page from a newspaper a young widow stands at the open rear door of a hearse carrying the casket of her husband. It is a poignant and moving picture. Her tiny six-month-old daughter, clutched in her mother's arm also has her eyes on her daddy's coffin.
In the repatriation ceremony at CFB Trenton the mother, standing in military erect position, has her right arm raised to her head, saluting her fallen husband.
I'm writing these words before dawn on this Friday morning as American Embassy's throughout the Arab world are poised on red alert. United States warships carrying tomahawk missiles have already left their U.S. base and are bound for Libya where on Thursday American diplomat, Christopher Stevens and three U.S. nationals were killed as a result of a rocket propelled grenade attack on their car as they were fleeing from the burning consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday night.
Opinions and theories vary as to what provoked the embassy attacks here in Libya, and also in Egypt and Yemen. Some maintain that this killing in Libya was a planned attack, designed to co-ordinate with the anniversary of 9/11, while others believe the violence in all three countries was triggered by the amateur film production "Innocence Of Muslims," which blasphemed the Prophet Mohammed and cruelly depicted him as a ruthless thug, child molester and womanizer. Whatever the flashpoint was, one thing is clearly evident in our modern world, at any given moment we appear to be precariously perched on the brink of a military confrontation between nations or groups of nations that has all the potential of escalating and frothing over into a nuclear conflict.
The Sword of Damocles, as Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy once referred to the menacing threat of a nuclear war, hangs over all the world, intimidating and terrorizing humanity, stubbornly refusing to go away.
It was the iconic Beatle John Lennon who wrote the profoundly influential "Imagine". Lennon had visions of a New World Order where there would be no political, religious or ideological divides, a new society with no borders between countries where men and women would live in peace and harmony. No divide between Palestine and Israel, North and South Korea, India and Pakistan, Arab Nations and the West...and on and on.
"Imagine there's no countries," Lennon said, "it isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace.” To the musical score he added the chorus, "You may say I'm a dreamer."
As idealistic and as utopian as the songster from Merseyside was, the realists amongst us clearly know, all cynicism aside, that Lennon was dreaming, for in order for world peace to occur there has to be a collective political will to want that, and it's simply not there, and here's the hard facts and gospel truth, for the duration of the life of this planet and its people... it never will be there.
Historically, it never has been there. "Has there ever been a time of complete global peace?" asks an online blogger. The answer, short and succinct, looks to the past for evidence and glimpses prophetically into the future, "No!" it says, "and there never will be!"
Deep down you and I know that. World peace is an illusion, a mirage, a figment of a wishful imagination. John Lennon was a dreamer. It's not going to happen. I wish it was, but it's not. This century the death toll through war continues to rise.
In the 20th century statistics vary, but it is thought that somewhere in the neighborhood of 160 million men, women and children died as the result of 100 years of war. That is staggering isn't it? It is a visible and horrific testimony to the inescapable truth that men and women worldwide have an appetite for hate, violence and war, and that world leaders are hopelessly inept at arresting the continual onslaught. In light of all that the future would appear dark and dismal were it not for one over-riding truth. The prophets spoke of it, envisioned it and anticipated it, that one day the world would be governed by a leader, none other than Jesus Christ himself.
Said the ancient psalmist, "He makes wars to cease to the ends of the earth." (The Bible, Psalm 46:9). No wonder another prophetic voice, that of Isaiah, would label Him, "The Prince of Peace." Jesus Christ will one day take upon His shoulders the government of the world. His reign will be unrivalled and uncontested. He will be the eternal incumbent, and there will be no end to world peace. (The Bible, Isaiah 9:6-7). That day is probably nearer and closer than most would believe.
I don't know about you, but I weep when I see the bloodied bodies of little kids whether they be Arab or Israeli, Muslim or Jew, black or white, Christian or non-Christian, and I know that Jesus weeps too. I'm closing this article looking up from my computer at the office wall. Ninety-seven soldiers and a diplomat; a widowed wife and an orphaned daughter, a husband in a casket; a man with no legs and his son looking on...that's war, and it never goes away, and it won't, until He comes.
So Jesus, hear our prayer. Our world is driven by hatred and conflict. The beating of the drums of war continue to reverberate. Come... and come quickly!
Rev. Eric Strachan is pastor of New Life Community Church in Petawawa.
The most persistent sound which reverberates through history is the beating of war drums.
– Arthur Koestler