Today, on this day we remember the fallen. The men and women who bravely fought for our freedom, our way of life and who stood to oppose tyranny and evil. WW1 ended almost 100 years ago. We as a planet, have supposedly learnt valuable lessons about war. Yet today, there is still warfare and the guns are not silent and the bombs continue to fall.
I’ve personally been to countless war memorials across the globe that claim, “Lest we forget “, “There are no winners in War” and “We will remember them.” Every ANZAC day, VE Day and Remembrance Day, politicians around the world speak about peace, unity and their commitment to that.
Their promise not to sacrifice any more lives or contribute to further blood shed. Are these just words to please the crowd I wonder? This Remembrance Day, I was reminded of a trip to Thailand I had taken earlier this year. A trip that stirred my heart and is even more pertinent to me today then it was at the time.
It was a Sunday and I went to a tiny Catholic Church in the town of Kanchanaburi. The service was 90% in Thai, not exactly the bi lingual experience that was advertised. Nonetheless, there is always something heart warming when walking into the house of God. To see the people en mass coming together to praise him. For me, the love and kindness that exudes from the faithful is a miracle in its own right. The immediate feeling of belonging in a foreign land, that is found in any church, mosque or temple. It really doesn’t matter which. The inhabitants of that building offer the world peace and love to the best of their ability. Church goers are not without flaws and it’s not to be said that the saints of the world participate in weekly religious gatherings. But, in that moment, on that day, in that place. God IS love and it surrounds us. That’s the reason I live my dream every day. My job is to explore places of worship, mingle with people of faith and experience new and different cultures with those who know them best. Which for me, is quite simply heaven on earth, a privilege that I cherish and am extremely thankful for.
The perplexity of life, is that immediately following this uplifting service, of which I understood very little (not that it mattered.) I wandered across the road, where an allied war cemetery lies and 7700 fallen lives are remembered there. A drop in the ocean compared to the actual amount of lives that were lost on that soil and countless others around the globe. As I sauntered the rows of headstones to read the inscriptions. “Jesus said follow me”, read one “Thy will be done” on another and one that simply read “Bub.” The last which got my emotions running and the tears flowing. Bub, that’s been my dads pet name for me for 33 years and to see that a father much like mine, on the other side of the world lost their Bub in conflict was a little too close to home.
In Buddhism they pray peace to all beings, in Islam the greeting “As-Salaam-Alaikum translates to peace be unto you. The Balinese Hindus say “Om Swasti Astu” meaning, peace and greetings from God. And the Christians “God bless you” is thrown about like it’s going out of fashion. Certainly in my family anyway (the Petersons know what I’m
talking about.) That covers over 80% of the population on earth. So I wonder as I sip my tea and marvel at the glorious ocean vista before me and I recall that day when I was in Thailand, dreaming up this concept of a faith blog. I think, I am blessed. Peace is upon me. I pray that together we can achieve that for all humanity not only with our words but also our actions .
Lest we forget.
Yours in Faith,
The Unlikely Pilgrim