As November 11th approached, we've had quite a few discussions about poppies in our household - about their symbolism, history, and meaning today.
Remembrance Day often leaves me with funny feelings. But maybe that's the whole point.
Many of us have connections to wars, either past or present. My paternal grandfather was a cook in the navy in World War II. And we're hosting an Afghan teenager whose mother doesn't know life in Afghanistan without war. For 39 years, that's all she's known.
Both of my daughters are planning to wear red "to remember is to work for peace" buttons today instead of poppies. They've seen them around our Mennonite circles over the years, and asked if they could wear one this year.
I'm all for remembering. Remembering is what helps us live today - remembering war can help us work for a world with no war. But why the outdoor gun salutes at the cenotaphs? What does that even mean to have guns going off while we're trying to imagine a world without war? Do we need that auditory reminder?
I remember seeing the movie "Saving Private Ryan" when I was in university. I cried and cried after watching it. I knew that I didn't need to watch that movie to know that war is awful, even evil.
I want my kids' imaginations to be stirred by a vision for peace. A vision that does not give in to war as a solution, but strives for something more. This is what I want our schools to do - to stir up peace.
And imagine... if the money that is poured into military budgets around the world were poured into creative peacemaking efforts instead... just imagine!
Imagine a world without war. Imagine peace.
My brother-in-law Bryan Moyer Suderman wrote a song this summer with this chorus:
"There's a new world coming,
it's already here,
there's a new world on its way
There's a new world coming,
it's already here,
let's begin to live that way."
A world where "the wolf shall live with the lamb," where "the cow and the bear shall graze" and where "a little child shall lead them."
At 11:00 today, I will pause to imagine this world. Will you join me?