On Remembrance Day 2015, we stepped beyond past memories to the immediacy of war’s devastation in today’s world. We are increasingly aware of civilian casualties. The devastation in France last Friday brought this home to all of us. Our TV and computer screens reveal waves of desperate refugees trying to cross national boundaries to safety. While we observed two minutes’ silence,for the chaos of past wars, churches of every denomination, individuals and community groups around the world were reaching out to embrace these refugee families. In their homelands, mass graves for civilians are common, the wounded overwhelm the hospitals, and homelessness has touched everyone. The United Churches of Shining Waters Presbytery have just welcomed a Syrian Refugee family to Peterborough. The fire in our local Mosque, considered a hate crime by police made the pain and misery of war step out of faraway places and into our community. I am glad God is calling Canadians to do more than lament the hatred and violence. We are taking action.
I believe that every time we step past our fear and reach out with love, we add another piece to the jigsaw puzzle of peace in this world. Each family we receive is one less family left vulnerable to those who teach hatred and violence. Hunger and hopelessness are fertile grounds for recruiting suicide bombers. I am grateful that many in the world are responding to this refugee crisis with love. Maybe participating in our Remembrance Day rituals over the years has incited individuals in Canada to respond. We don’t want to forget the people of the past or the present. All are God’s cherished children.
Years ago, Walter Farquharson and Ron Klusmeier collaborated on this children’s song that I offer you with Ron’s permission:
I SAT IN THE TUB
I sat in the tub till I looked like a prune. My mother told me to get out soon,but I love to sit in the tub and think. I like to float and I like to sink!
I prayed to God from right there in the tub, to give this whole world a vigorous scrub, to clean away what does not belong, to get busy right now and fix what’s wrong!
I thought about children that I did not know, who never play and who just don’t grow. They haven’t food or a place on this earth, no one who knows just how much they’re worth. (R)
I wondered why God let them suffer like that, why all of their enemies aren’t laid out flat, and I thought that all things could be more fair, if the rest of the world could just learn how to share. (R)
And then I heard God’s voice way down inside. The voice spoke to me and I almost died! It said, “The idea’s right! — I’ll start with you. You’ll be surprised at what caring can do!”