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Messages of Peace on Hiroshima Day, Sunday, 6 August 2006

Ian Dixon and Rob Ferguson - 06/10/06

In 1982 Christchurch was the first city in New Zealand to declare itself nuclear-free.
This was five years before New Zealand adopted a nuclear-free policy.
Peace messages are an important part of the recognition of Hiroshima Day in the city.

Ian Dixon’s message

We peace people have a colossal responsibility in today’s world of international disaster.

We have to show unparalleled anger at the monstrous use of weapons.

We must echo the cry of
school children bombed in their class rooms
the sick and wounded in bombed out hospitals
the Red Cross ambulances bombed on the highways
the food and water trucks bombed at the point of delivery.

But we have got to remember that

every ordinary citizen on this planet
every ordinary Christian
every ordinary Muslim
every ordinary Jew
every ordinary Black African
every ordinary American citizen

is one with us

against mindless political leaders

against the financial fat cats that feed off the profits from guns and ammunition
against the power hungry who give no thought to justice or mercy.

Another thing we have to do is to keep things in proportion no matter how grim the picture.

Most of you know that I saw Hiroshima after the American bomb. What I saw was horror beyond description.

I remember how a young colleague standing beside me said – “This looks like the end of everything!”

But I want to share two pictures with you:

Imagine a child at play, building blocks one on top of the other as high as he can go. He sweeps his arms over them and they crash down on the floor.
That is Hiroshima 1945.

Now imagine a giant so huge that he can sit astride Mt Cook with his thighs on either side of the peak. He strides across the Southern Alps tossing mountain peaks into the Tasman Sea. He picks up glaciers and throws them into the air. He walks into Cook Strait and causes a tsunami to swamp the South Island.
That is nuclear power 2006!!!

There is a nuclear stockpile that could turn our planet into a husk in a few hours – by breakfast time tomorrow morning!

Some scientists say we have enough missiles to crucify the solar system.

But you and I live in Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud. The long white cloud is not a fog or a mist. It is an arc of pure white surrounded by blue sky and with the sunlight breaking through. Our little islands are a gift to humanity. Our nuclear free is the David that can subdue Goliath.

With tolerance, with unflinching patience, but with terrible, terrible anger we must plead the cause of peace.

From Rob Ferguson’s message

The canned music plays in the mall:
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come”.
‘Christmas in the Park’ crowds sing Silent Night
and wave their lighted candles under an almost-full moon.
For a while it feels the way is near
To find the path of peace.

A woman runs down the streets of Otahuhu in the night,
Blood running from her stab wounds.
“A domestic incident,” the newsreader said
and then passed on to give the cricket score.
A boy lies, knifed on the pavement outside his school gate
While his numb classmates wonder who and why.
In an inland town six teenagers top themselves –
no hope they said, no fear of dying.

A small girl falls from her bike:
a neighbour new to the street runs out to pick her up.
They sit in the gutter talking
about how it’s hard to learn some things
then go together to the girl’s house
and drink a lemonade out of the fridge,
while Mum wipes the grazed knee clean.
Just for a while the clock stops ticking
and the path of peace stops here, beside a kitchen table.

Down a hospital corridor an old man wheels his old wife
of fifty years, or is it more?
She can’t remember anything, except she knows it’s him –
long habit of the years
and the tone of loving in his cracked voice
is enough for her to relax and let him push her anywhere.
The dark shadow of death is ever present
in the forefront of his mind,
but the path of peace leads through that valley.
Eighty years of living and you know a thing or two.

The bullets in the barrels of the guns are ready
primed for action and the word to fire across the valley
into houses, shops, schools and hospitals already full
of frightened weeping women, children, and old men.
Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
The path of peace is there too but the sky’s too dark to see it
except for children playing soccer in the school with friends;
difference there a matter of swerve and kicking skills
but not of colour or belief.

The path of peace is lit by light of candles burning:
burning in the darkness to say “I beg to differ!”
Hannah’s song rings through the foodbanks
to the corridors of politicians with decision-glasses on.
We beg to differ in our darkness;
it is not dark when hungry people share a loaf of bread.
The bows of strong soldiers are broken
and the weak grow strong.
Once were warriors, now are victims,
family trust is shattered and the refuge is not at home.
But come a day, the candles cry,
dawn will rise on bloodless streets,
on wells of clean drinking water,
on disease-free places to live,
on forests growing by river waters unpolluted.
Come a day, the candles cry,
dawn will rise on mercy as a way of life,
compassion and forgiveness as the mark of human conduct,
and loving as the steps of peace.

Ah, but the winds are blowing
and the flames are easy to snuff out.
Hear this,
oh you who consider power over others as your right!
Sheltered in the hearts of those who come to pay respect
at a stable birth is a light that will not be extinguished.
For life is greater than the lives of any one of us,
in the dream held close within the hearts of all who love,
a song sung all those years ago is carried still
by generation after generation
in the voices of the trodden-under.
And one day the winds of war will cease to blow.

The path of peace leads over hills, through valleys
across rivers, into cities, towns and villages,
streets, houses, parks and shops,
into plains and forests, and secret places
where the ants eke out their living on a leaf,
a tender song of mercy
lifted in the voices of the folk who walk the way
of Christ who walked the way before us,
light of lights, dayspring of our hopes,
scatterer of our fear.
The path of peace has no beginning elsewhere
but under my feet, and yours,
and songs of light echo in the valleys of darkness
as we walk together
with the one who comes and comes and comes
and never ceases singing.
Light of lights, dayspring of our hopes,
scatterer of our fear.

Published in Roads and Stones
Reprinted with permission from Rafter Resources

When used in a worship service the above peace message can be preceded and followed by:

Our God is merciful and tender.
God will cause the bright dawn of salvation to rise on us
And to shine from heaven
On all those who live in the dark shadow of death
To guide our steps into the paths of peace.


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