Fr Mark Soady’s CF(V)’s Sermon at the Defence Training Estates Remembrance Service on November 9th 2011:
“Many people take the Michael out of the Welsh language for its lack of words for things like computer, TV and Microwave, but its vocabulary for words about the important things in life is greater than that of the English language.
In Welsh, for example, there is more than one word for peace. The traditional meaning of peace as in ‘War & peace’ is in Welsh ‘Heddwch’, but many of you may have heard the peace being shared in the context of the Mass with the word ‘Tangnefedd’. Nefedd of course is the Welsh word for heaven, so I guess you could translate it as ‘a heavenly peace’. An inner peace, an inner tranquilly!
The Greek word translated ‘peace’ in the Bible speaks of this mental attitude of tranquillity. It is used to describe a person’s correct response to God’s grace.
We are a fallen people, and we will therefore not know that heavenly peace until Our Lord comes again in Glory and we are transformed. Speaking at the Service of Thanksgiving for the end of the Falklands War, the then Archbishop of Canterbury – much to PM Thatcher’s annoyance – said that war is the sign of human failure. It is a failure to live together in peace or a better word is concord.
The Bible speaks of two kinds of peace. The one comes to us when we truly accept Jesus Christ as Saviour, because we have taken a major step to starting the process of becoming whole again. When the Son of God died on the cross he broke the barrier between God and man, so resulting in ‘Tangnefedd’. In the letter to the Romans St Paul writes, “ Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
The second is of the mental attitude of believers. We read in the 2nd Letter to Timothy, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind’.
We experience this heavenly peace regularly. We feel an inner happiness when we respond by faith to God’s grace. That is what we as Christians are called to , and that is what we as a Christian country are called to do when we are faced with an aggressor at our borders on we see fellow human beings suffering at the hands of a tyrant. It is because we are in a fallen world that we do sometimes, as we have this year in Libya , gone to war to stop on going horrors.
I conclude with some reflections of a soldier , a poem written by him while in Iraq: