Soon we will commemorate a day that will have endured in the national
consciousness for one hundred years. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 the nations of the world called for a
cessation of hostilities that had claimed 40 million casualties in four short years. It ended what was up until then one of the most gruesome displays of self-inflicted violence that humanity ever perpetrated and suffered.
Nowadays we celebrate November 11th as Veterans Day, but in its inception,
it was Armistice Day. Yet that day was not just an end to the first-ever
world war, it was also a hope that this war would forever be known as “The
War to End All Wars.” There was a real assurance that if humanity could not secure a sense of lasting world peace, we could at least seek a more peaceful world.
As Christians, we are called to seek peace. In Psalm 34, we read,
Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:11-14 NIV)
We seek peace between us and God. We seek peace between individuals.
We seek peace in this world. We cannot forget that World War I was, for the most part, Christians killing Christians. Their national loyalties superseded the commands to “seek first the kingdom of God” and “love your neighbor
as yourself.” Those familiar with the Christmas Truce of 1914 will recall the day on the front line when soldiers from all sides put down their guns and celebrated Christmas together as Christian brothers. Is it not the case that those who have suffered war often pursue peace more ardently than many of us? We can do much to “seek peace and pursue it” in our communities, country,
and around the world. We can pray for political leaders that will temper our most belligerent and bellicose tendencies. We can encourage reconciliation
among groups or individuals instead of being compelled to “take aside
We can model peacemaking in our own lives.
As we seek peace, we will not realize a comprehensive peace on earth. That
is reserved for the Prince of Peace before whom all nations will bend a knee.
In and through him, the king of Creation, we will finally experience the peace that we pray and hope for this month on Armistice Day.