This week we celebrate Veterans Day. Nov. 11 was originally called “Armistice Day.” At 5 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 11, 1918, the Germans signed the armistice, and an order was issued for all firing to cease. The hostilities of the First World War ended.

This day began with the laying down of arms, blowing of whistles, impromptu parades, closing of places of business. All over the globe there were many demonstrations; no doubt the world has never before witnessed such rejoicing.

I looked up the definition of the word “armistice.” It means “a temporary cessation of fighting by mutual consent.” Oddly enough, World War I was called “the war to end all wars,” and it ended using a term that means “temporary cessation.” Looking at things now, it appears that all wars end only temporarily. World history has been periods of war with brief times of peace in between.

As a nation, we are grateful for those who fought to bring us those times of peace, and we should commit ourselves not so much to fighting for peace but for working for it.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” those who do the things that make peace.

This week I ask that you remember those who have given their lives for freedom, peace and justice. And I challenge you to find ways to make peace.

I recently found the following Sabbath prayer by Jack Reimer. …

We cannot merely pray to you, O God, to end war;

For we know that You have made the world in a way

That each person must find their own path to peace.

Within themself and with their neighbor.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end starvation;

For You have already given us the resources

With which to feed the entire world,

If we would only use them wisely.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to root out prejudice;

For You have already given us eyes

With which to see the good in all people,

If we would only use them rightly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end despair,

For You have already given us the power

To clear away slums and to give hope,

If we would only use our power justly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end disease;

For You have already given us great minds

With which to search out cures and healing,

If we would only use them constructively.

Therefore we pray to You instead, O God,

For strength, determination and will power,

To do instead of just pray,

To become instead of merely to wish.

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Michael B. Henderson is the minister at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Florence and a member of the Morning News’ Faith & Values Advisory Board. Contact him at

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