Friday, December 10, 2010

Blessed are the peacemakers

I took my seat by the window as the Delta flight readied for take-off from Des Moines, IA. A very energetic young man sat next to me. He was in constant conversation, joking and laughing with five other young people seated in rows across and in front of me. He was about my same height and weight (when I was a senior in high school!). The handsome, freckled-faced young man leaned over and said, “I’m a little nervous. It’s my first flight.” You will be just fine, I assured him. He, the two young women and three young men, appeared to be late teens to early twenties (none of them older than 21).

My new friend said he was from “Oskee”…and said it with pride. The bantering, teasing and laughing continued among these friends as we taxied to take-off. No more than ten minutes after take-off, my nervous friend was sound asleep. As we approached the Atlanta airport he awoke. I asked him a question with my answer already implied. Are you young folks on a school trip for the Thanksgiving holiday? “No, we are headed to Jackson for basic.” Basic, these children, some who probably could not vote in the most recent presidential election, were headed to “basic training” in the US Army.

So it is with our young in America, as it is around the world. The innocence and laughter, anxiety and excitement, were all so evident that day. Their parents and friends had said their good-byes, as these young men and women volunteered to serve their country and risk their lives. I said a prayer silently as we exited the plane, as a woman seated behind me wished them good luck and thanked them.

I do not know if a year from now they will be in harm’s way in Afghanistan or some other place far from Iowa. I do know they are precious to God and that peace often seems elusive and costly to the young.

May God bless these young soldiers and keep them safe. This season of hope, I hunger for peace that includes the absence of war.

“He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords in plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.”
Isaiah 2:4, NRSV

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Bishop, for speaking aloud what many pray for, hope for, live for: peace, that includes the absence of war. My heart is, as yours.
    Be Encouraged!
    Mark Young