Advent 2015 – Devotion Ten 12/8/15

December 7. To some people, especially those who were alive in 1941, December 7 means Pearl Harbor Day. It is the date that the Japanese attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Two thousand four hundred and three Americans were killed in the surprise attack and 1,178 others were wounded. There was devastating damage done to the US Pacific fleet. In response, the US entered World War 2.

In the aftermath of World War 2, the people of Japan made great strides toward becoming a more peaceful culture. There are many memorials to peace in Japan. At the Fuji Sanctuary near Mt. Fuji, there is an annual gathering of people of many faiths from around the world who come to pray for peace. This is just one example of a Japanese initiative for peace in the world.

Each year on a Sunday close to Dec. 7 at LUCC we use a peace reading from Japan. This is a small way to recognize that while Japan did attack the US, there are significant efforts at pursing peace taking place in Japan. No country or culture is all good or all bad. In an effort to be peacemakers, we affirm those who are working for peace around the world.

I know there are people in other countries who think the US is all about violence and war. Given the many years the US has been at war, the mass shootings that take place here, and the fact that there are more guns than people in the US, it’s understandable how this impression has emerged. This is a very sad stereotype of the US particularly because it contains a measure of truth. I hope that people around the world realize that there are many in the US who are working for peace.

This year at LUCC on Sunday Dec. 6, we read the Mt. Fuji Declaration that was affirmed at the Mt. Fuji Symphony of Peace Prayers Ceremony this past May. The text follows:

As individuals responsible for the future of life on Earth, we hereby declare…

We affirm the divine spark in the heart and mind of every human being and intend to live by its light in every sphere of our existence.

We commit ourselves to fulfilling our shared mission of creating lasting peace on Earth through our ways of living and acting.

We intend to live and act so as to enhance the quality of life and the well-being of all forms of life on the planet, recognizing that all living things in all their diversity are interconnected and are one.

We will continually strive to free the human spirit for deep creativity, and to nurture the transformation necessary to forge a new paradigm in all spheres of human activity, including economics, science, medicine, politics, business, education, religion, the arts, communications and the media.

We shall make it our mission to design, communicate and implement a more spiritual and harmonious civilization—a civilization that enables humankind to realize its inherent potential and advance to the next stage of its material, spiritual, and cultural evolution.

This is a wonderful comprehensive statement for peace. I wonder how we could increase the peace in the US and the world if we chose to begin each day by reciting this pledge to peaceful living?

Think of a time when you felt attacked in some way. How can the experience help you to learn to be more peaceful?

Prayer: Our faith teaches us that all people are created in the Divine image. Thus we know that all people have the capacity to be peaceful. We know that in all cultures and nations and places there are people who are seeking peace. May we endeavor to cultivate peace in ourselves and to encourage peace in others. Amen.

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