Thursday, September 4, 2008

A witness for peace

In the swirl of controversies and conflicts in our own time -- war abroad, division at home -- we do well to remember the witness and sacrifices of those who have gone before. Nearly a century ago, one such witness graced our church just as one of the worst calamities of all time began, the war to end all wars -- World War I.

Episcopal Bishop Paul Jones of Utah stood up to oppose that war, bearing witness to the gospel of peace of Jesus Christ. The reaction against Bishop Jones was intense, and he was forced to resign his seat as a bishop. He continued for many years thereafter working in the church, and died in 1941 as World War II was erupting. Today we remember his feast day. You can read more about Bishop Jones in an article written a few years ago in Witness by my friend Joseph Wakelee-Lynch. And I am proud that I represented my diocese at the 1996 General Convention that voted to honor Jones' life and witness by adding this day to our calendar of saints.

Collect of the Day: Paul Jones, Bishop and Peace Advocate, 1941

Merciful God, you sent your beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Raise up in this and every land witnesses, who, after the example of your servant Paul Jones, will stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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