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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, October 03, 2002
    Under the fig tree
     
    I am frightened we are hurtling towards a war that will have unseen and unforeseeable consequences. For we will not only fight a wicked regime but enter a war that could devastate and destroy our friends. My mind goes back to a visit to Iraq in 1999. I was invited with others, including the Bishop of Coventry, to a lunch with a Christian family. At his table our host welcomed us, our Iraqi minders, secret police, and drivers. He took a large unleavened bread and broke it, sharing it with us and saying in Arabic: "Under God, we are all one, as we share this bread."

    Before the meal ended he beckoned me for a quiet word in his garden, telling me in a few hastily grabbed moments what life was like. It was not good: His action that lunchtime put him and his family in danger. "I am making this garden for peace," he said. "It is on the site of a bomb crater. Come and sit down with me under this fig tree."

    In that moment I reflected on the vision of the prophet Micah. "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, or ever again be trained to make war. But each one will sit down under his own vine and fig tree with no one to trouble him." Today I wonder what will happen to such people, to one who practices "loving his enemy" if war comes.


    - Peter Price, Bishop of Kingston, Southwark, in has speech at the anti-war rally in London on Saturday, Sept. 28: quoted in full here, and also in the current SojoMail.