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Hallo again to all.

The war has started. We don't even need to tell you which war. Every television station in the world is reporting on it; every newspaper in the world mentions it. The indigenous dead probably had no idea how widely reported their anonymous deaths would be.

Autumn has started. Well, in the Northern hemisphere, it's Spring. But the seasons come and go, marking the passage of months and years, and this week is another mark.

A new war and a new season. We see the first as proof that Satan is real and present, and the second as proof that God is real and present. Such is our life and our world: an omnipresent God and an Satan who is present in our lives, if not forever.

We don't have to tell you any details of what is happening in Iraq. Reports are all around you. And we don't have to tell you any details of the coming of Autumn or Spring. Just look out your window. If you are rich enough to own more than one pair of shoes, it's time to put aside the off-season shoes and take out those for the new season. We adjust our habits to the passage of time.

This unattributed photograph accompanied the Fisk article in The Independent.
We, personally, are distressed by this war. We recognize that Saddam Hussein is a bad man, and we recognize that the people of Iraq are suffering at his hands. We simply aren't sure that military action is going to have the desired effect, but its victims will be just as dead. Read, for example, Robert Fisk's article in The Independent, 'This is the reality of war. We bomb. They suffer'.

For thousands of years the passage of time has been marked not just by the change of seasons but by conflicts and catastrophes. 'Before the war, Shelbyville was a thriving town.' 'By the time of the third crusade, most peasants had never seen modern wheat.' 'Antebellum fashions were more muted.' 'Before my husband had his stroke.' 'Before my father died.'

The current military campaign does not yet have an accepted name, but in six generations it will have a name, a meaning, and a place in our vocabulary and history books. A few sentences will explain to children yet unborn the reason why we had to do this. Its dead will be gone and forgotten, as will those who survived. It will have changed from a bloodbath to a history lesson. No one alive will remember the name of either mother or child in the photograph above, and we fear that their pain will have been for naught.

We cannot stop this war. It is now part of the ancient conflict between the Light and the Dark. We pray for our troops, we pray for the innocent whose injury and death are its side effects. Let us honor the people who are involved in this war by praying that our governments will find a way to turn their sacrifice into something that will have meaning. Let some purpose come of the slaughter; let some lasting value come of the sacrifice. When the flowers of a future Spring blossom on the graves of the dead, please let their meaning be more than just the arrival of another season.

See you next week. And do enjoy this new season. God made it for you.

Brian Reid's signature
Cynthia McFarland
Brian Reid

Last updated: 23 March 2003

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