What do we pray for when we pray for peace?

This week I’ve handled every book in my office at least twice, and as I have waded through them I have noticed how many books there are about praying for peace. I’ve thought for a long time that as global communication has improved – and grown more visual – my faith tradition’s way of creating prayers for peace, for God to act, has undergone transformational change. Now I realize I can track and describe that change right here in my office. I have set aside those books as they have gone by and I’m thinking about a new workshop, titled as this post is titled. There are other resources in here as well, like Willard Swartley’s magnificent Slavery, Sabbath, War and Women on using the Bible in rhetoric. A tiny pocket Book of Common Prayer once owned by a soldier in the Second World War. This question has so many dimensions – nationalism, triumphalism, victory, cultural dominance. The question itself is a gift from Chaos.

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The office project is moving right along – here’s Lyla, asking if I’m done yet. I hope to go on retreat for a couple of days starting tomorrow morning and I would like to leave with a sense of this place being in readiness for my return. Maybe while I’m away I can name this room.

(An hour or so later…)

I’ve been downstairs in the family room gluing birch bark onto the mat for a print I had matted in the wrong color – this is to go on my office wall – and listening to Paul Simon, whose music always speeds the task. I noticed just now that his song The Boy in the Bubble is about the struggle to endure global images of suffering and violence. The bomb in the baby carriage was wired to the radio…don’t cry, baby, don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry.

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