-by Rev. Leland Stewart

“Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.  Help someone’s soul to heal.  Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”

  • Jelaluddin Rumi, Science and Spirituality, page 183


This is Memorial Day Weekend.  It is a time our country honors its veterans of military service.  It is appropriate that people who have served the United States in this way be honored.

The problem is that we are now in a state of perpetual war.  One warlike action leads to another, and at this point it appears that the process is never ending.  At some time soon we must take a different direction in order to save lives and to discover that there is a better way to live.

I have always felt that I had a mission in life that I must devote myself to fulfilling.  It was and is a mission of nonviolence, of service at a moral and spiritual level.  I could not risk going into the military service and possibly being killed in the process, because then I could not fulfill my sacred mission.

My reasons for not going into the military service were as follows:  I was 4F, which means that I was not physically fit, although at first the recruiters were going to pass me through the tests without reservation; I was 4D, which was because I was studying for the ministry at the time; and I was 1AO, which is a conscientious objector.

Conscientious objectors oppose war and their participation in it.  For me, I had another way of serving my country and the world.  Because I did not yield to going into the military service, I was able to continue with my mission from then until this day.  My mission is moving forward in increasingly important ways, but it is far from being completed.  I trust that it will continue to motivate my life until my dying way, which I hope will be numerous years into the future.  I am blessed to be able to be fulfilling my mission, and it is most of all because of the heightened energy that commitment gives me that provides energy and longevity to my life.

I would like at this time to call on others who have a similar commitment in their lives to begin working together and to devote themselves to ending war and violence at home and around the world.  This is a huge task, but the more people who have this mission, the sooner war will end and the future made more secure.

President Obama has just been in Japan and has pledged to working for the elimination of nuclear weapons.  At the same time, the United States is in the process of updating its nuclear weapons at the cost of billions of dollars.  Would we not be better off to work with the nations of the world to mutually agree to eliminate these weapons altogether?

May peace prevail on earth!