In an episode of the old TV show The X-Files, Fox Mulder encountered a powerful wish-granting being. The encounter was in a kind of dream state I guess. Mulder was granted one wish. He wished for world peace. A good choice I think, one I might have asked for too. Slowly, Mulder came to realize that the peace that was granted meant that all other human beings disappeared. This was a plot twist intended to be humorous; I didn’t laugh. I have never found such pessimism funny.
Surely, human beings are not only capable of achieving peace but of achieving an everlasting peace. This is not some sort of naïve, pie-in-the-sky, wishful thinking. Peace is what God intends. Hope is never naïve; hope is necessary for accomplishing anything useful. And if I am wrong, I know one thing for sure – hopelessness will never achieve peace.
In my ministry I have had the privilege of listened to the stories of hundreds of people tell of their wartime experiences. And not just the elderly. I sat on a bus with a 14 year old boy, a server in the church I was attending; who spoke of his journey from war-torn Sri Lanka to northern Toronto. He traveled on foot, in boats and trains, but it was hope that brought him to Canada and to peace.
Every person who has ever spoken to me about their real experience of war has spoken of hope and particularly their hope for peace. We honour the fallen by working for peace because that’s what they died for. Honestly, once and a while, things do seem hopeless, but at the core of our faith is a call to hope; a knowledge that with God there is always reason for hope; there is always reason to believe in peace; and peace amongst a multitude of people, beliefs and cultures.