I remember as a child sitting in elementary school classes when we had bomb drills. I remember living in a town with a Strategic Air Command air base and listening to the regular sounding of the siren that would, perhaps, warn us of incoming missiles. These memories are part of me. In our world of increased terrorist threats and decreased personal liberty, I find the idea of the New Start Treaty very reassuring. In a country deeply divided by partisan politics, I find something uplifting that nine Republican senators have broken ranks with their leadership to advance this treaty.
This week I am frantically finishing Christmas Eve bulletins. Our Advent theme at Woodland Park United Methodist Church has been on "peacemaking." We have hung photos of peacemakers from around the world in our sanctuary. We handed out peace cranes to people so they would be reminded of peace every day. We have sung of peace, preached about peace, and prayed for peace. We hosted conversations with leaders from other cultures and faiths to discuss peace in their philosophical traditions and to dialogue about the obstacles their communities face regarding peace. Peace is on my mind, and, fortunately, has burrowed itself in my heart this Advent.
The New Start Treaty, as flawed as it may be, is about peace. It is a tangible work by two governments to advance the idea of peace. This is a rare thing. I hope those senators who understand themselves to be Christian will think about the connection among peace, Christmas, and this treaty. This week the Senate can do something quite sacred. It can make real in the world, if only in an incomplete and finite way, this peace for which we all yearn. They can make their faith real by voting to reduce the threat of nuclear war. I hope they will. I don't want the generations that follow us to have the same kinds of memories that I have of bomb drills and fear of strangers. I dream of a better world. I believe in the Prince of Peace. And, I hope my fellow Christians who are senators do as well.