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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Prayers for Peace

As we celebrate the season of Christmas, and the birth of the Prince of Peace, I am reminded of humanity's warlike tendencies. While serving at my last church, I buried a soldier killed in our nation's current war in Iraq as well as a 100 year old German veteran of the First World War. At the WWI veteran's funeral, I reflected on how much the world had changed since the dark days of The Great War and how he had found a home in the country that was once his enemy.

In 1954, the BBC interviewed Frank Richards, who had served in the Royal Welsh Fusilliers and was present at what became known as the Christmas Truce of 1914, when German and British troops joined in sining Christmas hymns from their trenches, then met together in no-man's-land, where they found peace together, at least for a while.
BBC Interview with Frank Richards, a veteran oftThe Christmas Truce

Seventy years after the Christmas Truce, John McCutcheon, one of my favorite singer-songwriters, wrote "Christmas in the Trenches," a song that I have performed many times and which I will be offering as the peace prayer in church on January 3.

Today, I have a high-school classmate of mine serving in Iraq. In addition, I've got a "kid" from one of my former churches and two of my current church's staff members have children who are scheduled to deploy. I wish them -- and all of their comrades -- peace and a safe return home.

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