'Peace In War' Meditation

Fr Laurence Freeman spoke to CCJP meeting


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On Monday evening 27th October about 130 people gathered at St Albans Church on Acton Green Common to hear Fr. Laurence Freeman OSB, the Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation, give an outstanding and inspiring talk on “a new understanding of peace awakened in meditation”.

Fr. Laurence is a Benedictine monk who has conducted many peace initiatives and is active in inter-religious dialogue.

Fr. Laurence outlined the complexity of people’s needs for war and how they got an adrenalin rush by going to war. “Afterwards, however”, he said, “We see the horror of war and the devastation of homes and people”. It is a useless horror which solves nothing and the glory of war is an illusion. Poets like Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon exposed the fake meaning of war and how soldiers were traumatised for the rest of their lives. He talked about swords being made into ploughshares to become instruments of growth.

To end the cycle of violence, Fr. Laurence said that we have to end false peace. Reconciliation must be lasting and he explained how the Gospel exposed the false peace. War, he said, is a blasphemy against God and religion should be pure.

Fr. Laurence quoted the Sermon on the Mount and talked about forgiveness. One’s love, he said, must be boundless. He went on to talk about the use of contemplation and how meditation is about a radical simplicity, which drives out the root of sin within us. Being with God in meditation brings stillness, silence and stability. Meditation can lead us to loving our enemies and can be a transformative experience.

There was complete silence as the lights were lowered and the candles shone out at St Albans, indicating new hope for attitudes to peace and a re-birth of the Church building on Acton Green. The meditation continued until Fr. Laurence summed up his thoughts. There were then many questions put to him. Everyone had had a truly memorable experience.

The event had been organised by Chiswick Churches for Justice and Peace (CCJP), an ecumenical association of parishes in Chiswick, whose aim is to stimulate local awareness and action on issues of justice and peace.

An introductory 3 part series on the practice of Christian Meditation will take place at Christ Church, Turnham Green on 3 Tuesdays starting on Nov 4th at 12-30pm, to be led by a member of The World Community for Christian Meditation.

Simon Rodway, Chair of CCJP.

October 31, 2014

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