Friday, September 4, 2009

The Saints of Summer: Bishop Paul Jones

Nearly a century ago, one of the worst calamities of all time began, the war to end all wars -- World War I. Both of my grandfathers fought in that war, and returned home to rear families. Many were not as fortunate. Our church was caught in the war fever of the time, and yet there were voices of peace who were brave enough to stand against that fever.

Episcopal Bishop Paul Jones of Utah (1880-1941) 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; you can read it by clicking HERE.

You are free to disagree with Bishop Jones, and many did. Yet we need voices of peace, especially in those times when it is not popular to be one of those voices. Pray we always have them pricking our conscience, reminding us that warfare and violence are the not the way of Jesus. At best, warfare may be the lesser of evils, yet it is still evil. 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.

No comments: