On Wednesday I happened to go into London to meet Anne. The plan was to walk from Canary Wharf to Fenchurch Street for no other reason than we can and the exercise is good for us. Our route takes us along the Thames Path and down a few streets that have some interesting buildings hidden away on them.
The exercise was somewhat negated by the stop at a small Italian restaurant we found last time we were out exploring for a park where we could play rounders with anyone from Anne's work who might be interested. Having eaten, we set off on the final stretch of the walk from Wapping to Fenchurch Street mindful of the time and knowing we would probably miss the next train home and have to wait a while for another. As it turned out we caught a train to Upminster and arrived just in time to ump of a bus that stops right outside the house.
Now, I'm telling you all this because rather than take the street route up to the station we decided to go under Tower Bridge and up past Tower Hill. It's a bit further round, but it's a nice detour. We hadn't intended to do this, we just decided on the spur of the moment to make the detour. I don't think either of us was aware of the sight that would greet us as we passed the Tower. Although I'd heard about it, I hadn't realised that the ceramic poppy sculpture, for that's the best way I can describe it, was at the Tower. Appearing to spill out of the side of the building and flowing around it in both directions, our first sight was at the river side as the poppies took the form of a waterfall entering a pool. It's quite a sight, a poignant one at that, and worth seeing if you're coming to town.
With the world in what seems like a never ending circle of turmoil, as nations continue to fight with each other and seemingly with themselves, it's not a bad time to reflect on the past and present loss that is the constant companion of war. It is surely something of a miracle that we haven't been sucked into another worldwide conflict. How easily could the Middle Eastern conflicts of the last two decades created a wider scale of conflict. Or what about the Balkans or the present situation in Ukraine and the Crimea, a place not unfamiliar with fighting.
When you think that the Great War was finally precipitated by the assassination of single head of state, how much could any of these situations have been the catalyst for something more all-encompassing?
If there is hope to be found, and surely there is hope to be found, then this is where it is. Not in the fear of what might happen, or even in the fear of what is currently happening, but in the possibility of peace because we've experienced a long period of relative peace for so many years. War is not like a sleeping volcano or dormant geological fault line to which we apply some simple statistic and arrive an the inevitable conclusion that sooner or later it will erupt or shift. War is something we can and must manage, for it is of our own making. And the hope is that if we can wage war we can also wage peace.
This in no way reduces the theological route to peace and the hope those of us who share a faith perspective have for the world around us. It fact it ought to strengthen our resolve to pray and work for peace in the world. To support and encourage those who do and challenge those who don't. How we do the latter I'm not too sure, but there are those who do and who stand for peace in powerful places. At times we've allowed our theology to get in the way of peace, but we are hopefully wiser than we were!