- Rev. Justin Montague
Pray for Peace
It's been a few weeks since we updated our blog. Here's a moving piece from Rev. Justin Montague, former Royal Marine.
Will you join us in praying for peace?
In September 2006 I stepped onboard an airplane at RAF Brize Norton to begin a journey that would change my life irrevocably. Seven months later as the aircraft wheels touched the tarmac at Exeter Airport with a reassuring bump and a screech, replacing the noise and rumble of gunfire, I stepped onto British soil with sand from the Afghan desert still in my boots. Having lost two comrades during the conflict in Afghanistan, with others returning with wounds both seen and unseen, I had my own personal scars to bear, both physically and emotionally.
The hope was always that peace would somehow be found for a country that for generation after generation had been entrenched in unrest and conflict. In the intervening years, once deserted markets in district centres became full of life and vibrant colour; girls able to receive an education they had previously been denied and children’s lives not defined by bloody conflict. Women took positions of authority and employment throughout every echelon of society, all in stark contrast to that which had gone before. Though imperfect, the progression was palpable and reflective of how hard normal Afghan people had worked towards a brighter future.
Today, the reports and images dominating our news feeds display once again a radically different picture. A now unbearable tension, fear and desperation that comes not from uncertainty, but rather a sense of the known, the reality of life experienced under a similar regime in the 1990’s. Things can change so fast!
These last weeks in truth have reopened old wounds and bought back memories to the front of my mind. I have done a lot of reflection, lamented for a beautiful country and people and continue to pray fervently for their tomorrow, which is yet still unwritten.
The gospel is a story of hope, light and life that breaks through barriers and boundaries and will never stop moving. It may be illegal to be a Christian and share the Good News of Jesus Christ openly in Afghanistan, however there are many Christian organisations providing assistance and demonstrating the love of Christ, alongside many other NGO’s through their presence with the Afghan people and they will remain, whoever is in control.
We should pray for peace and that our leaders may have the mind of Christ in all their decisions ahead. May I invite you to join me in praying for peaceable rule, for dignity and for liberty for the people of Afghanistan and for all the men, women, boys and girls who remain. For the displaced and for refugees, for courage, compassion and generosity across the entire international community, and a continual response to an ongoing need in the uncertain times ahead.
Jesus said who we are to neighbour and stranger, to the prisoner and refugee, to the hungry, the thirsty and the sick is important to him. May we also pray for ourselves as we look out to our world asking; “Lord Jesus, what would you have me do?"
In Christ, Justin