Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


A mournful month

More than 100 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines died in Iraq and Afghanistan this month. No matter your politics, you will find moving the photo essay on funerals at Arlington National Cemetary this month which the New York Times offers online.

I'm currently reading Bing West's book No True Glory in which the Vietnam veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Defense relates the Battle for Fallujah in some detail. Time and again I meet a Marine in its pages with a brief sketch about the man. Then soon he is cut down by a random roadside bomb or in a fire fight with insurgents. Or he undertakes a heroic action, saving others without regard for his own life. The book also considers the Iraqi deaths and often notes how senseless they are as some t-shirt clad young man jumps in front of the Marines and starts firing an AK-47 wildy only to be quickly dispatched. The senselessness of the deaths on each side of the conflict fit the books title "No True Glory."

Reading the book and seeing the photo essay sends me back again to that portion of King of Peace's website that steadily draws visitors to an online prayer vigil which has been offered since our troops shipped out for Afghanistan. The site includes a brief service you can pray, names of those serving who have been submitted for our prayers and several other prayers including:

Jesus Christ,
who in the hour of your death was recognized as Savior
by a soldier standing nearby:
be to those whose bear arms now, a sign of saving hope.
In circumstances of danger and ever-pressing fear
keep alive in them steadfastness and courage.
Preserve in them when tested, righteous and humane values;
and uphold their good wills
until they are released from the awful necessities
of human strife. Amen.

and this prayer for the victims of war from the 11th century, which shows that these concerns are not new:

God of love, whose compassion never fails;
we bring before you the griefs and perils of peoples and nations;
the necessities of the homeless;
the helplessness of the aged and weak;
the sighings of prisoners; the pains of the sick and injured;
the sorrow of the bereaved.
Comfort and relieve them, O merciful Father,
according to their needs;
for the sake of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
—after Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)


Post a Comment

<< Home