On the 4th I was invited to participate in an interfaith reflection on the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  I was moved and honored that I was asked and readily accepted the invitation.  Along with representatives of several other faith traditions I gathered near the Everson Museum, the fountain and reflection pond in the background. Small lanterns made by children were waiting for the words to stop, waiting to be released on the water, waiting to let the souls of those that died that day to float freely in the twilight.

The reflections and prayers were said, even a song or two sung, but it was the lanterns that seemed to capture my attention the most.  They were made by the innocent in honor of the innocent.  On each lantern were words of peace written in the oversized printing of young people.  They were words that spoke of being nice to their siblings, not being a problem to their parents, and on occasion saying that they hope those that died were okay.  They asked for peace and for our countries leaders to find the wisdom to “get along” so that the fighting would stop.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could think in the simplistic manner of children?  Wouldn’t be a better place if we would just stop and think if our actions were “nice”?  Wouldn’t it be amazing to see what would change in this world if all decided to just get along?  I think I would like to see that, like to just try. 

Below I give you the words that I spoke that night.  They are not nearly as eloquent as what the children had to say, but they are my words simple and to what spoke in my heart.

 “I wondered what to say today.  Who am I to speak on this subject?  I am not old enough to be a survivor of WWII, I don’t have anyone in my family that served in WWII, so where is my connection to the day?  My connection is that I am human and what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki 65 years ago has affected us all.

The Mother, the Earth, is a living being.  She grows, breathes, heals, and changes on a daily basis.  The things that we call natural disasters are only her stretching and moving and continuing on her eternal path.  The bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not part of that natural growth, not part of our Mother.  In that instant the web of life that connects every being on this earth was torn violently by the acts of man.  The silent screams of mothers as they and their children died where the screams of every mother on the planet.  The surprise of those caught in the nuclear wind was the surprise of every human being.  The illness suffered by the unlucky to have a lingering death after the explosion, is the illness we still long to be free of.  

The web can be healed, we as people can be healed, Mother Earth can and does heal.  But in order to do so we must learn, learn that using nuclear weapons is not the answer to conflict.  It would be my hope, the hope of a single pagan, that we would put our weapons aside and begin the process of peace.   What is that process?  I’m not sure. But in nature diversity is essential to the growth and survival of all things.  I believe that when we as humans begin to understand that we are part of nature, not outside of it, we will begin to understand the importance of diversity.  When that happens maybe we will look at our relationships with others a little differently.  In that moment I believe peace can happen.”

So today I ask you to work for peace.  Reach into yourself and feel the web, see what it is that you can heal.  It need not be a large endeavor, great things come from small acts of kindness.  If you are perplexed on what it is you can do, forget my words and think of what the children said:

Be kind, get along, do something nice, hope for peace.