IS WAR AN “ACT OF GOD”? IS PEACE?
(Sunday, June 25)
“For the peace of the whole world, for the stability of the holy churches of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.” (Byzantine Great Litany)
I recently noticed that in some insurance contracts, war is listed among “acts of God,” along with climate events, riots, and labor strikes. An “act of God” in this context is an event beyond the human control of the beneficiary of the insurance contract, even while most of these events are not, in fact, “acts of God.” There are human beings responsible for most, if not all, of these events, while the insurance contract is meant to take care of their victims. War, for example, is perhaps an act of “a” god for pagans, who believe in a god of war (like Mars or Tiw), but not for Christians.
Is peace an “act of God”? Not exactly or not only. We pray “for the peace of the whole world,” as in the above-quoted litany, so we might presume it is. We need to pray for peace, because God is the source of peace, just like He is the source of other divine energies, like love, good will, humility, compassion, patience, etc. But He does not force His peace or grace on us; we need to be willing to accept Him and His divine energies, including peace; we need to be open enough and vulnerable enough, to offer ourselves into communion with Him, and into the consequences of communion with Him. Hence we are taught to pray for things that we in our darker moments may not “really” want, so that we learn to “really” want them: “Thy will be done,” we may say, while “really” wanting our own thing. “Thy kingdom come,” we may say, while pursuing or building our own little kingdoms. “For the peace of the whole world,” we may pray, while fighting pointless battles in our own little worlds and households.
Let us pray to the Lord this Sunday, – for peace, for His will to be done, and for His kingdom to come into our lives, and for a willingness to accept Him as our King and our God.