Remembering war

At the end of the Second World War, many of those who returned from the battlefield found they could no longer believe in the God talked about in church pulpits.  Many of the relatives of those who didn’t return also struggled to believe.  Either God isn’t there or God doesn’t care, they said.  Why should we bother with God? 

Yet the truth is that the Second World War and every other war before or since is not God’s fault – it’s ours.  Wars are the result of our failure – our failure to live up to what it means to be real human beings.  When we blame God for allowing our own shortcomings to bring us to this, we’re like children looking for someone else to blame, looking for the adult who should have intervened on our behalf.

If God is to blame for our wars, it’s because he treats us as mature adults, allows us to make our own way through the world.  The truth is that God is not responsible for our pains – rather God is present with us, endures our pains with us.  God is at the heart of the cry for justice in midst of oppression, the cry for mercy in the midst of violence, the cry for peace in the midst of the storm of war. 

As we remember the horrors of war this Sunday, don’t blame God.  Rather blame ourselves and our failings.  And acknowledge that there is a better way to be – know that God wills something better for us, better than war, better than the flawed and fragile peace in which we currently live.