The Word: A brief theology of Veterans Day
Published 12:31 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Four years ago, www.saltproject.org, posted “A Brief Theology of Veterans Day”. The following is borrowed heavily from them:
It was the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month in 1918 when the world celebrated…as a treaty was signed ending what was to be “the war to end all wars” – World War I.
105 years ago this past Saturday, what was once known as “Armistice Day” was established. “Armistice” means “Arms…stand still” showing the desire for the end of World War I to truly be…the war to end all wars.
This day was set aside as an opportunity to honor and show respect to the many veterans who have and are serving this Nation.
Sadly….that day in 1918 was soon discovered to NOT be the war to end all wars. So…in 1954, Armistice Day was renamed “Veterans Day” in order to honor veterans from all the wars since, not just World War I.
But the words of Congress still resonate, as do the holiday’s origins in that great stillness.
This is a day of thanksgiving: for the service of veterans; for the service of caregivers who walk with veterans through the ravages of war, even after the bullets and bombs and missiles stop flying; and for the days of peace that come at long last. A day of prayer: for people of all faiths (or no faith at all), a time of prayer, meditation, or reflection on the stillness of armistice, so that the days of peace on Earth increase, and the days of war decrease.
A day of exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations: for all of us to find ways to build bridges across lines of difference, suspicion, or hostility, in our neighborhoods, country, and among the nations of the world.
To lay down our arms. To step into a new stillness together. To sing with our ancestors that we, too, will lay down our swords and shields, “down by the riverside, and study war no more” – so that the next 105 years may be more peaceful than the last.
May God’s peace be with you on this Veterans Day, this Armistice Day, and may we lay down all of our arms, all of our burdens, in God’s great peaceful comfort rising up even now, like soldiers climbing out of trenches these past 105 years.
Lord, thank You for our Veterans. Thank You for the numerous men and women who have warn a uniform in service to this Nation. Pour into them the healing needed. Allow us to show respect and gratitude for Your service given through them. In Jesus Name, amen.
Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.