Faith Matters: A note to God for Veterans Day: God can’t divide enemies from loved-ones as we try to do

The Rev. Mick Comstock at the Glacial Potholes in Shelburne Falls.

The Rev. Mick Comstock at the Glacial Potholes in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By THE REV. MICK COMSTOCK

Retired UCC minister

Published: 11-13-2023 12:36 PM

Dearest God,

You are the only one who remembers all people who have fought and died in our wars, for you are the only veteran of all the wars that ever were.

How terrible that must be for you who aren’t armored as we are; who can’t divide enemies from loved-ones as we try to; who can’t transform persons int0 numbers as we try to; who can’t separate causes from their effects, ends from means, as we can and do; for you who exult in the flight of each single sparrow, who suffers the falling of every fallen one.

How awful it must be for you in these present wars, your Muslims killing your Christians and your Jews; your Christians and your Jews killing your Muslims; your Muslims killing your Muslims; your Christians killing your Christians … and all in your name, again!

How can you bear the hatred in the hearts of some of those who carry you to war with them, the emptiness and the terror and the cruelty of those who do but do not know they do?

How do you, who have been through this over and over again since the beginning of time remain faithful to the love in which you create and hold and save the world; the love which must mean such pain for you; the love at work right now that weaves around the things that make for war, the things that make for peace? It is your love that is creating already a healing for the wounding in the war-making.

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And most mysterious of all, how can you also accompany us when we must go to war? How do you, as we know you do, buttress our courage, sustain us in our best humanity, guard us against the human capacity for evil in which we share, continue to hold us in the forgiving and healing love in which we know you hold also our enemies when we succumb, work healing in us and in our enemies and in all our families when the strife is over?

We know that this is how you are God for us and we give you thanks and praise for it. And we thank you for the honor and courage of those who’ve gone to war, for your care for their families while they’ve been gone, and for their safe return. We pray that you would hold the bodies and souls and families of those who have not returned in your everlasting arms.

How, we pray, may we who have been through so many wars, keep faithful to your love, help to bear your pain as you help us to bear ours, contribute to the weaving of the things that make for peace, the things that make for healing, the things that make for justice, and the things that make for a world with no more wars.

Help us, dear God, to have the courage to drop the armors that protect us from your pain and make wars possible, and to risk bearing only the armor that you bear, of faithfulness, hope and love. Amen.

Reverend Comstock is retired. He is a member of Charlemont Federated Church. He is currently working on a book of prayers to be called, “Seasonings: Prayers of Praise and Complaint.” He hopes it will be published early next year.