It's a day of remembrance and action that was started twenty-five years ago by the Mennonite Central Committee and its related faith groups. It is to be the Sunday before Remembrance Day in Canada, though the actual date shifts with various groups and congregations. MCC provides resources for worship and a kit designed for use in public schools. Leave it to the original peaceniks.
The United Church of Canada had a similar designated Peace Sunday, usually in August for some reason, though that movement might have been diminished over time; I'm not sure if my former United Church family even has a Peace Sunday anymore.
One hundred years ago the world plunged into its first global war. During the war to end all wars:
- 16 million people were killed
- 21 million people were wounded or disabled
- 1 in 10 Canadian soldiers died
One hundred years later, our nation continues to mourn the loss of so many young Canadians, in various military campaigns. As it should.
We are also sending young Canadians to yet a new theatre of war, as if its only a play, acting, possibly with an intermission. Consequences be damned. Have we even discussed the consequences as a nation?
Our political masters would have us believe that danger lurks at every turn; that violent action is necessary on our part even in the absence of any direct threat or attack upon Canadians. We might even have to give up some of freedoms in the cause of fighting the unknown but dastardly foe. This is nonsense.
Our leaders perpetuate the notion that war has given us freedom and democracy, though those points were hard won by the people of Canada in Canada, not in some foreign escapade for a foreign King or Queen or corporate master.
On Remembrance Day we should wear poppies. To remember the sacrifice and the suffering and the dead.
We should also recognise that just as war and violence continue, peaceful alternatives do exist. There are better ways to resolve conflict, in our homes, our communities and in the world.
Peace Sunday is a start. To remember is to work for peace.
“War is what happens when language fails.”
– Margaret Atwood
Images from MCC.
Copyright 2014 by Jim Murray.