“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars” – Jesus, Matthew 24:6“Come, let us go up to the mountain of theLord,to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of theLord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.—Isaiah 2:3-4
While many in the United States, Europe, Russia, and the media are focused on the horrific Russian invasion of Ukraine, we call on all Friends and others of faith to remember that wars are raging all across our globe. As Jesus said in Matthew, we hear of wars and rumors of war almost daily. According to various sources, there are over twenty active wars occurring, from Afghanistan to Yemen. Four of these (not including Ukraine/Russia) have had casualties exceeding 10,000 in the past year.
We, the Quakers of West Newton Friends Meeting, as followers of Jesus, in session on May 15, 2022 declare that, in the same way we stand for peace in Ukraine, we also advocate for peace globally. While Jesus warned that there would be wars and rumors of wars, we follow him as the prince of peace and stand with the historic Quaker testimony that “All bloody principles and practices, we, as to our own particulars, do utterly deny, with all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretence whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world.”(Declaration to King Charles, 1660).
Since it is not enough to just say we are for peace, we urge our members, and others of good will, to work actively for peace around this world by supporting the work of Friends Peace Teams, Friends Church Peace Teams, Community Peace Teams, and other such groups. We also, as meeting and individuals, pledge to support the work of relief organizations assisting those innocents who have been harmed in countless ways by conflict in their land. Finally, believing that God is not just God of what is, but is God of what might be, pray that the hearts of war-makers might be tendered, that they will beat their swords into plowshares, and that they will not learn war anymore. Though this seems impossible, Jesus reminds us “all things are possible with God” Mark 10:27.