Revd Mark’s November Notes

Dear friends

Prussian general and war theorist Carl von Clausewitz, said, in the 18th century, that, ‘War is the continuation of politics by other means’. That way of thinking, all too prevalent sadly even in our own time, diminishes the devastating impact that war has on human lives (as well as the environment). In every age, people have suffered catastrophic injuries in their bodies and minds as a result of armed conflict, but it was only in the last century that this destruction look place on an industrial scale. That’s why it’s so important that we keep alive the memory of the two calamitous conflicts of the first half of the 20th century and many more since. Once again this month we mark Remembrance with special services at All Hallows and St Edmund’s. These special commemorations do not glorify war, but remind us of its terrible cost for both combatants and civilians.

The Christian tradition leaves room for different views on war, but even if we are among those who believe that there are circumstances where it cannot be avoided, we must recognise that it is the greatest of human disasters. We just need to look at the terrible experience of people in Aleppo or Mosul in recent weeks to know that.

Violence is easy to condemn when other people in other places resort to it. But perhaps as we commemorate the terrible cost of armed conflict on Remembrance Sunday, we need to examine our own hearts and commit ourselves to peace not just on the grand scale in our ordinary everyday dealings with each other. Only if more and more people commit to peace in these small ways can we avoid the great conflicts that all too often devastate our communities and our world.

Peace, Mark