Veterans Day

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         He was wounded for our transgressions.
                  —Isaiah 53.5

Today, on Veterans Day, we honor those who have served in our military. Today we will romanticize them. Tomorrow we will forget them. The next day we will deny them medical care, housing and mental health benefits. The day after that we will ignore them while they suffer the wounds of war, the ravaging effects of doing and witnessing brutal violence, the mixed feelings of having served their country by killing people. We will debate the finer legal points of torture, while they bear the deep psychic scars of having participated in inhuman, soul-destroying duty. (It appears that the psychic damage of torture is as great on the perpetrators as on the victims.) They will wrestle with the reality that 90% of our war dead are innocent civilians, and we will tell them they are not guilty, because it’s the price of freedom. They will do their best to believe that. They will bear the scars, the wounds and disfigurement, the nightmares, disorientation and loneliness of having borne their nation’s insanity into the world. They will suffer the highest suicide rates in the nation. Of course many combat veterans adapt well and find ways to make their peace with what they’ve been asked to do. But not without psychic cost. We will thank them, because we don’t want that blood on our hands.

But it is. Combat veterans are the victims of our practice of child sacrifice. We offer up their bodies as a sacrifice for our sin, an offering in our religion of war, the illusion that violence is necessary, effective and redemptive, the evil lie that our lives are made better by someone else’s suffering. They are the victims of our belief that violence changes anything. As a nation we project our fear of suffering and powerlessness into the evil of war, and they—and all whom they engage in violence—bear the wounds. They are the children whom we have sent to kill some other mother’s children. We honor them, but we do not stop sacrificing them.

Today I pray for all who are touched by the violence and inhumanity of war. To all who have given their lives I offer my thanks for their bravery, and their devotion to their country. God grant them rest, and honor their memory. To all who have chosen to serve, and to all who have suffered without choosing, I pray that God will grant mercy, healing and blessing. And in their honor, in the name of the Prince of Peace, who gave his life in nonviolent love, I devote myself to the end of our blood sacrifices, and to the mending of the world.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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