If we each had a piece of paper and a writing instrument in front of ourselves
this morning, how many of us would be able to identify a place somewhere in this
world where there is a war, or a conflict going. I suspect that we could name some
conflicted places. It seems as though we hear a lot of war and conflicts these days.
A few more commonly known conflicts and/or wars: Darfur region of Sudan;
Democratic republic of Congo; Iraq; Sri Lanka Middle Eastern location such as
Israel Palestine; Syria
Some lesser known conflicts: Central African Republic; Somalia; Eastern Burma;
The locations I have mentioned are just the starting point. Thanks to google and
Wikipedia, I was able to find a lengthy list or places which were currently
experiencing conflict and or fighting. This list does not even begin to address the
locations where they may be open disputes and disagreements. A place may not
considered as under war, but the leadership is fighting with itself, or the leadership
is at odds with the surrounding community.
In these days there are wars and rumors of wars. Through media and
technology, we read and hear about hiding in caves and friendly fire, special
operations and prisoners of war, classified information from throughout the world
being dumped into the public domain. We know what war looks like. WE see
pictures on television or the internet. We may hear specific details in our daily
routine about war and conflict.
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I think for some of us listening to the news these days is an exercise of
worry and concern, for somewhere there has been an explosion, a suicide bombing,
an assassination, involving gangs and tribes, drugs and oil, property and power. In
detail we hear the story through a variety of media sources, and we can easily
obtain all of the details in the telling. I think sometimes we are used to war,
because it occurs in a variety of ways. I have not even begun to speak on the
conflicts that do not involve countries. Conflict and disputes occur within our own
national boundaries, whether it is within a governmental environment, within a
place of business, or inside a family and home. There are plenty of instances
where people argue fight, are in conflict with one another. Maybe violence is
present in these more localized situations, maybe there is not. I believe however
that we have the answer to the question, what does war look like. And I think
sometimes it is all too easy for us to have war, to have conflict, to have disputes .
The biblical writers asked a different question: “what does peace look like?”
For the prophets of the ancient Middle East also lived in days where there were
wars and rumors of wars. They could also describe it in vivid detail. Yet they had a
different focus, an alternative vision, when they asked the question, “what does
peace look like.
Peace is the theme for this week in the season of Advent. Peace is spoken
about in worship, in song and...