All over the UK this morning acts of remembrance have been carried out. We should remember – not only the dead of all nations in both world wars, but of all wars; and not only the dead, but those whose lives have been broken by war – the bereaved, the disabled, those who have lost homes, land and all they worked for and valued, those who gave their lives to prevent war, but war came.
War is not something ever to celebrate, but rather to mourn. We should mourn every day, really, since there is not a day when some war somewhere is not killing and destroying innocent lives, as well as the lives of the combatants themselves. There never has been a just war: not because the cause has never been just, but because war is in and of itself unjust. Those killed and hurt are rarely those by whose decision war was commenced, and in many cases they are mere bystanders, people across whose peaceful land wars are fought.
Peace should be the most fundamental of human rights: peace to live, to create, to learn, to heal. Peace should be the rule, not the exception. It is appalling that I should have cause to wonder at having lived all my life so far in a country untouched by war at home.
In 1916 Britain Yearly Meeting minuted, “…freedom from the scourge of war will only be brought about through the faithfulness of individuals to their inmost convictions, under the guidance of the spirit of Christ.” (QFP 23.92)
Remembering, and the grief of remembering, must be the centre of my prayer. Unless I remember, I am in danger of accepting the peace in which I have lived my life as normal. It should be, but it isn’t. That is a most horrible thing. Please, let us remember, and out of that remembering, refuse entirely war and the acceptance of war, and of the means of war. Let us “study war no more…”