Peace & reconciliation

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Those who are familiar with Facebook will know that when you open it you are presented with the question 'What's on your mind?' That is not a bad place to start a contribution to the notice sheet.

What must be on all our minds is the dreadful conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and North Africa, leading to the massive humanitarian crisis and a flow of refugees the like of which has not been seen since World War Two.

We seem to 'pray without ceasing' for peace and yet the situation seems to be getting worse, not better. We are assured that God hears our prayers and yet we ask ourselves 'why does not God do something about all this NOW?'.

An answer came recently during the coverage of the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War Two.

There were stories of how an American Mustang fighter pilot had become a close friend of a German ME109 fighter pilot. These old enemies had discovered their common humanity. In another case, an Englishman had sought out the brother of a Japanese Kamikaze suicide pilot who had been responsible for killing his father during an attack on his ship.

These examples of reconciliation had not come quickly, but hatred had turned to mutual respect and friendship as much as 50 years after the event. However dreadful a situation seems to be at the time, we can see reason for hope in the longer term. God works through human beings. His plan will certainly take time to be achieved, but it is ultimately down to people like us to deliver it. We should pray for an understanding of the part which each of us should play in delivering reconciliation.

A prayer for peace by Terry Waite:

Peace is the fragile meeting of two souls in harmony
Peace is the embrace that protects and heals
Peace is a reconciling of opposites
Peace is rooted in love.
It lies in the heart waiting to be nourished, blossom and flourish
Until it embraces the World
May we know the harmony of peace
Until in the last days we rest in peace

Nigel Hughes

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