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1000 Black Lines

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Peace - The Great Venture

A couple months ago, my wife indulged me by purchasing a sample subscription to The New York Times (Sunday Edition). We had Sunday lunch out on the porch and enjoyed the warm late summer/early autumn season as we paged through that week's edition. It happened to be the weekend of the tragic Russian school hostage news. The image of a young father beside the body of his son has not left my memory. Will that ever happen in America? Will that be me someday?

Last week, NPR's Speaking of Faith ran an incredible show on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The line that comes back to me is:
There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture, and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to mistrust, and this mistrust in turn brings forth war. To look for guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

I know several peace activists. But I don't know too many who would embrace that statement. In a few years my son will enter the education system. Will America be safe from schoolyard terrorism? I don't know. It seems that peace offers no safety but rather visits at the moment of complete insecurity and wraps you in its presence -- not protection. I remember that image from The New York Times of a young father beside his dead son and I chose "the great venture" as the true road to peace.

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