Dove of Peace

The Obama Administration has asked the U.S. Congress to pass a resolution authorizing military strikes against Syria. The administration claims that in the ongoing civil war in Syria, the government fired rockets loaded with chemical weapons into rebel strongholds on August 21, reportedly killing more than 1,400 people including some 400 children. The strikes are intended to be punishment for the use of chemical weapons and a warning that such actions will not be tolerated in the future. Many religious leaders are urging Obama not to use violence to punish violence and instead to put diplomatic and economic pressure on all sides in Syria in order to secure peace for the people.

There will be vigils and prayer meetings this weekend for peace in Syria. We offer these resources for individual and group use. Below is a prayer written by Brian McLaren, one of the Living Spiritual Teachers profiled at S&P. Here, too, are links to collections of quotations and prayers we put together at the start of the Iraq War. Alas, they are still needed.

Peace Is the Way: A Collection of Inspirational Quotations for Peacemakers

Wartime Prayers and Meditations: a collection of 37 prayers for peace from all traditions. 

And so we pray this news. . . .

by Brian McLaren

"Living God, our world is broken-hearted by the atrocity of chemical weapons being used in Syria, killing children, women, and men indiscriminately. And our hearts grieve no less for the many tens of thousands killed and hundreds of thousands displaced by the civil war there.

"We pray for peace, God of peace: not just the cessation of conflict, but a new day of reconciliation, civility, and collaboration for the common good . . . in the Middle East, and around the world.

"We also pray for the United States, whose leaders are contemplating military strikes in retaliation for the atrocity, to punish those who ordered it, and to deter those who might plan similar atrocities in the future. We acknowledge that our leaders are trying to do what is needed and right, based on the understanding they have. But on this day, as millions of us around the world pray, we ask for greater wisdom, greater understanding, greater foresight, so that we can find new, better, and non-violent ways to achieve lasting and profound peace.

"We know from bitter experience that 'our' violence promises to end 'their' violence, but in the end, it only intensifies vicious cycles of offense and revenge. We also know from bitter experience that inaction and passivity also aid and abet evil. So on this day, we seek your wisdom, for a better way forward . . . a new way that we do not yet see.

"We Americans sense that our nation is on the verge of rethinking its role in the world. In this moment of rethinking, we also pray for guidance. Help us learn from past mistakes, and help us imagine better possibilities for the future. In this time of political tension and turmoil - not only between, but within our political parties - may your Spirit move like the wind and give us a fresh vision of what can be, so that we do not repeat old, tired, and destructive cycles of what has been. May the wisdom and ways of Jesus, upon whom your Spirit descended like a dove, guide us now - to a wise and responsible role as good neighbors in our world. Amen."

Next Post: A Prayer for Family and Friends of Those Who Have Committed Suicide