You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your heart. - 2 Peter 1:19 (NRSV)
Musician John McCutcheon was on tour in Germany. As he performed throughout the heartland, a group of very old men kept showing up. Finally, on the last night of the tour, he asked, “Who are you guys?”
They were veterans of the First World War, and they kept coming to hear a certain song because, although they had lived it, most people did not believe them when they spoke of it.
The song is “Christmas in the Trenches,” and it memorializes the Christmas Truce of 1914, when German and British soldiers—enemies of war, mind you—crossed a no-man’s land to exchange family photos, share liquor and chocolates, play soccer, and sing “Silent Night.”
And then, after that sweet respite, the killing resumed. All these years later, it has never really stopped.
When the letters attributed to the Apostle Peter were written, Christians had begun to doubt the glory, resurrection, and promised return of Christ. It was hard for them to believe it had ever happened, much less base their lives on it.
“Hey,’’ Peter says, “I was there! I can’t forget, and neither should you. Hold on to this liberating truth through your doubt and suffering, until the morning star rises in your heart and you can’t help but share your song with the world.”
On this Veterans Day, as we honor those who have served in our country’s military, let us not forsake Christ’s call to peacemaking. Let us hold true to the promise until it is made real through a change in our hearts.
Bright Morning Star, Prince of Peace, shine your love through our hearts to a war-weary world.
Small Group Discussion
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.