Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

That it may please thee to make wars to cease in all the world;
to give to all nations unity, peace, and concord; and to
bestow freedom upon all peoples,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

I’m afraid as long as there is pride and greed in the world, there will always be wars. Part of me says, “This is too tall an order.”

Part of me says, “How can I possibly pray for something that, in my heart, I do not believe will ever happen?” That part of me is the part of me that refuses to even participate in “Polyanna fantasies.”

But what is at the core of this? The answer to that question is incredibly scary, and incredibly simple.

I cannot believe it because there is no such thing as “total peace” within myself.

Here’s the ugly truth on a small scale. There are times, when I’m out of sorts, that I will just, as my grandmother used to say, “pick fights just to be pickin’ a fight.” Oh, sure, I have some trumped up reason that maybe something was taken from me, or someone did something to piss me off, or I’m mad at how someone treated someone else. Or maybe I say something snippy to someone who horned in on the parking place for which I was patiently waiting, or someone cut me off in traffic, or someone just said something a little snippy to me that I don’t care to ignore.

If that is what I can do on a small scale, well, then, how do I expect it to happen on a large scale?

So, okay, I can’t believe this will ever happen. Why pray it? Why bother? Why beat my head against the wall? I had to think about this for a while...and I got an idea.

Maybe I pray this, because what is really being asked in this stanza, is for God’s reign to be in charge. If this happened, we would not be in charge. We’re not capable of it. The only system I can imagine where there would be “no war” would be a system in which God did all the ruling. Even then, I think it would be a job because all those humans would have to sort of “stop being human.”

That “freedom” thing is also, in my mind, not attainable. Again, as long as there is pride and greed, there will always be a human need to subjugate and enslave others. Again, I look to myself. When I am in no mood to reason or compromise, I can get bullish and inadvertently put someone else down, even if that was not even my intent. Maybe when I am asking for freedom for others, I am really asking for my own freedom from the parts of myself that can subjugate other parts of myself.

Perhaps part of this stanza is one of those “Reach for the stars, and even if you can’t reach them, you can catch a planet on the way down” sort of things. Maybe by praying for the impossible, some degree of “good” still happens. Maybe it’s about the increase of good by asking for the impossible. That seems more reasonable.

What do I need to do in myself to “quit warring with myself and those with whom I share a common life?” What do I need to do to cut myself loose from my own “self-enslavement?” Oddly enough, I am studying on that a little in my own prayer life, it seems...and perhaps the answer to this impossible wish is in there.


I'm glad that you directed this meditation inward. I do think that is where all larger conflicts begin.

Kirk--I've been snowed under lately, so am not commenting much...but wanted you to know how much I'm enjoying this series. Thanks!




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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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