Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
“Peace is the temporary beautiful ignorance that war somewhere progresses.” (Edna St. Vincent Millay, untitled poem, 1940).
The USA Today headline today should be shocking, but nothing seems to shock us much anymore. The United States will overhaul its troubled plan for Syrian forces. The Pentagon was given a half-billion dollars to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels fighting ISIS, but to date the plan has yielded only 9 fighters–a far cry from the original goal of 3,000 to be trained by the U.S. this year.
CNN headlines today are no more encouraging–Syria skies a flash point? Did Putin wrongfoot Obama? Christians flee ISIS. ISIS kills Iranian commander. How Syria turned into hell. Six reported killed in Gaza clashes. Deadly shooting at Arizona university.
Close encounters of the dangerous kind over Syria between American and Russian warplanes, plus the conflicting ideas of President Obama and President Putin are causing some to fear we’re on the verge of another Cold War.
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee confounded expectations today–bypassing Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel–and giving the award to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its “decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in the country in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.” The Quartet was formed in the summer of 2013 when the democratization process was in danger of collapsing as a result of political assassinations and widespread social unrest. It established an alternative, peaceful political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war. The group was formed as an effort to represent all sectors of society and culture–a labor union, a trade confederation, a human rights organization and a lawyers group working together to establish equal rights for all citizens. Some have complained that the process criminalized poverty and political dissent. Though the work of this group sparked the Arab Spring, extremist groups have wreaked havoc in Tunisia over the last year, so peace there is still illusive.
In our own time, as in every century, the human heart dreams of peace even as the nightmare of war rages around our weeping planet.
“Peace, peace, when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14 KJV)
“All’s well, they say, all’s well, when in truth all goes amiss.” (Knox)
“The prophets give assurances of peace when all is war.” (The Living Bible)
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS PEACE? Not in the world–in Jesus.
“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT)
Johnny R. Almond
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity
Interim Pastor, Nomini Baptist Church; Montross, Virginia