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Peace, Consideration, and Reconciliation

December 23, 2014

During Christmas week, the spirit of St. Andrew’s celebrates the peace, serenity, and promise of the season. Even in days that provide precious little sunshine and daylight, we focus on hope, renewal, and the power of gentle innocence and love directed to a world beset and besmeared by violence, division, mistrust, and hatred.

St. Andrew’s grieves for the loss of 132 children, 10 staff members, and 2 soldiers killed by Taliban militants at the Army Public School and Degree College in Pakistan.

We mourn and condemn the killings of policemen Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos shot in their patrol car Saturday in Brooklyn.

In his beautiful Christmas poem, “The Gift,” William Carlos Williams describes the power, the innocence, the miracle of new life: the very sight of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus brings wise men to their knees, and “the very devils” in Williams’ words, “by their flight gave praise.” This season, Williams suggests, creates a sacred time.

We in the world and we in America need this sacred time to consider and embrace a peace that will protect innocents everywhere. We must find ways to protect and honor children and the schools filled with teachers who help imagine a world of possibility and renewal. We must find ways to explore issues of difference and division in America. We must find ways to honor, respect, and protect the men and women who represent us in police stations and military outposts across the United States and the world. We must find ways to discuss, argue, agree, disagree, create, recreate, and honor principles of justice, respect, peace, and reconciliation.

If we together do this grueling and painful work of peace each day, we will make the miracle of Christmas resonate in new and powerful ways. In a conversation with a friend who asked him why he wanted to be a policeman, Wenjian Liu responded: “I know that being a cop is dangerous, but I must do it. If I don’t do it, then who is going to do it?”

We have seen and experienced too much pain, too much heartbreak, too much anger and grief over these weeks. Please join us at St. Andrew’s in working for peace, judicious consideration, and reconciliation.

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