Cure Our Warring Madness

Sculpture Garden
MN Landscape Arboretum Louise Nevelson

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine places the horrors of war on full display, with all its  devastation, heartbreak and trauma.  Day after day, hospitals, shelters, apartments and schools are bombed. People flee, refugees crowd borders, hearts shatter at the insanity of war. Their cries joining the cries of the ages whenever war ravages a nation and a people.

President Putin’s response to international sanctions, with threats of nuclear war, has brought the unthinkable back into reality.  I remember my sixteen year old self, clinging to a radio and fervently praying for peace, while the Cuban Missile Crisis played out 1962.  I wondered if any of us would survive that October.    Only later, would we learn how very close we came to nuclear war.

Today, phrases from Harry Emerson Fosdick’s hymn, *“God of Grace and God of Glory,” echo in my mind. Penned before nuclear war was even envisioned, it is a prayer for God’s power and for wisdom against the evil of the day, to cure the madness of war. 

“Lo, the hosts of evil round us
scorn the Christ, assail his ways.”

“Cure your children’s warring madness;
bend our pride to your control.”

“Save us from weak resignation
to the evils we deplore”

“God of grace and God of glory,
on your people pour your power . . .
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
for the facing of this hour.”

Long ago Isaiah gave us a vision of God’s heart. I hang on to hope of that day, when God will put war to and end and every nation will live in peace.

God shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more. Isaiah 2:4

May it be so.

 

*Full text of Fosdick’s Hymn, God of Grace and God of Glory

God Of Grace And God Of Glory
On Your People Pour Your Power;
Crown Your Ancient Church’s Story,
Bring Its Bud To Glorious Flower.
Grant Us Wisdom, Grant Us Courage,
For The Facing Of This Hour,
For The Facing Of This Hour.

Lo! The Hosts Of Evil Round Us
Scorn The Christ, Assail His Ways!
From The Fears That Long Have Bound Us
Free Our Hearts To Faith And Praise.
Grant Us Wisdom, Grant Us Courage,
For The Living Of These Days,
For The Living Of These Days.

Cure Your Children’s Warring Madness;
Bend Our Pride To Your Control;
Shame Our Wanton, Selfish Gladness,
Rich In Things And Poor In Soul.
Grant Us Wisdom, Grant Us Courage,
Lest We Miss Your Kingdom’s Goal,
Lest We Miss Your Kingdom’s Goal.

Save Us From Weak Resignation
To The Evils We Deplore;
Let The Gift Of Your Salvation
Be Our Glory Evermore.
Grant Us Wisdom, Grant Us Courage,
Serving You Whom We Adore,
Serving You Whom We Adore.

 United Methodist Hymnal, pg 577, written in 1930.