We were sitting in a line when I first heard the song. And one wanted to argue over whether or not we should pray for that kind of peace because You said You came to bring peace and not a sword. But You also told us to pursue peace, and wished Jerusalem knew what would bring peace, and we read that Jesus Christ is our peace. So when they sang the melancholy words, “O God, save the children, shelter them in Your loving arms…” and later said it was peace that the world cannot give, my heart cried out along with them. It wasn’t the first of the tears for peace. Just the week before my heart had twisted when we spoke of and prayed for Egypt and Syria in our meeting. And it had broken three years earlier when I stood looking down from a battered monastery onto a river and a hillside of mines in a little village in the south of Lebanon, and the year after that when I heard people speaking hate against those I loved but they didn’t know.
Would that they had known what truly made for peace.
Because still it continues. So many in Syria gone. Numbers in Egypt rising again. Shootings in Kenya. The world on the brink of war. But again and again it comes back to the innocent. So many innocent gone. Dead.
O God, save the children.
The children in the womb. The children out of the womb. The children in the street and in houses, in the desert and in the mountains, in the field and in the city. Is nowhere safe for them anymore? Is nowhere safe for anyone? How can we go on? How do you let this happen? When will it ever end?
So many nations in turmoil. So much bloodshed, and so many tears shed.
But the peace You bring is not one this world can offer.
And one day, all will be peace. And the nations will be healed, by the tree that brings life. Its leaves are for the healing of the nations. And you will have wiped away every tear. No more of this; it is only temporary. It will pass away.
Yet now we must bear it.
Give us strength, even as we weep Your tears.