Saturday, April 14, 2018

CONTRADICTORY PATHS TO PEACE: PRAYERS AND MISSILES




Early in Saturday morning, April 15, 2018, American, French and British missiles hit Syrian military targets with explosions and smoke. On April 7, the Syrian government reportedly attacked one of its own towns, Douma, with poison gas. The April 15 attack was justified as retaliation for the beastly violation of globally accepted standards for warfare. Rancor, justifications and accusations followed in the wake of both attacks.

At the approximate time of missile attack several hundred people filled the sanctuary of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland, OR, to hear a concert of J. S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor. The presentation by the Cathedral choir and the Portland Baroque Orchestra, conducted by David Hill, renowned British musician, ended with an enthusiastic standing ovation by the audience of several hundred.

The last Chorus of Bach’s B Minor Mass is a masterful musical prayer: “Dona nobis pacem,” or Grant us peace. After the tones of the final “Amen,” hundreds stood tall and applauded vigorously for many minutes.

There we have the human condition. At about the same time: weapons and prayers: simultaneously launched, oddly coincidental.

Which will prevail? Some answer like this: God’s peace in response to our prayers. Others say: fighting forces and weapons, as in the case of Syria just now? Certainly this is a question for civics classes, study groups, public policy gatherings and governments.

How do you answer?

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