pray for peace
Our hearts are breaking over the violence in Afghanistan, the senseless loss of innocent life, and the rising rage it has provoked. Each in our own way, we are flooded with sadness and anger. The simple, devastating truth is this: human beings are not meant to kill other human beings. We are not meant to enter foreign lands and kill civilians - sixteen all together, including three women and nine children. We are not meant to put our women and men into situations so difficult, so harrowing that they lead to these kinds of breakdowns, and to this kind of sorrow.
We are heartbroken, saddened, and angry - and so we pray. We pray for the dead, and for the families who lost their loved ones. We pray for the 38-year-old perpetrator of violence who has been serving in the military for eleven years, has served three tours in Iraq, and is married with two children.
In the presence of war, of wanton death, and of post-traumatic shock syndrome, what can we do but pray for peace? And when violence crosses lines of religion and culture, what can we do but pray prayers inspired by words of life from our brothers and sisters around the world?
With our Muslim brothers and sisters, pray for peace:
In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful, praise be to the Lord of the Universe who has created us and made us into tribes and nations, that we may know each other, not that we may despise each other. If the enemy incline towards peace, do thou also incline towards peace, and trust in God, for the Lord is the one that hears and knows all things.
And the servants of God are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when we address them, we say "PEACE." Amen and amen.
With our Jewish brothers and sisters, pray for peace:
Loving God, through the mouth of Isaiah, this is what you said: come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, that we may walk the paths of the Most High. And we shall beat our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation - neither shall they learn war any more. And no one shall be afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken. Amen and amen.
With our Buddhist brothers and sisters, pray for peace:
May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind quickly be freed from their difficulties. May those frightened cease to be afraid, and may those who are bound be made free. May the powerless find power, and may people think of befriending one another.
May those who find themselves in the trackless, fearful wilderness - children, the aged, the unprotected - be guarded by beneficent celestials, and may they swiftly attain perfect enlightenment. Amen and amen.
With our Hindu brothers and sisters, pray for peace:
Lead us from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality. Peace, rest, calmness, tranquility, and bliss unto all. God almighty, may there be peace in celestial regions. May there be peace on earth. May the waters be appeasing. May herbs be wholesome, and may trees and plants bring peace to all. May all things be a source of peace to us. And may thy peace itself, bestow peace on all, and may that peace come to me also. Amen and amen.
With our Christian brothers and sisters, pray for peace:
Loving God, through the mouth of Jesus Christ, this is what you said: blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be known as the children of God. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To those who strike you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from those who take away your cloak, do not withhold your coat as well. Give to everyone who begs from you, and of those who take away your goods, do not ask them again. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
God of love and God of peace, help us to listen and to act. Make us peacemakers. Make us whole.
Amen and amen.
Thanks to Skip the Budgie from Bristol, UK for this striking and prophetic street art.