Saturday, August 6 is the 76th anniversary of the one of the world’s biggest tragedies in history: the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. Thousands of people died that day with the death toll rising to over 100,000 after the bombing of Nagasaki a few days later. Since then millions more have died as a result of bombs and their widespread devastating effects. I pray that our remembrance of this horrific event give us strength to work for peace in our time. Today is also the opening of the Olympic games. I detest the commercialization and economic injustice of the games but I admire the spirit of equality and harmony between nations for a few weeks as they play together.
This is an appropriate day to hold the vision of an ancient psalm before us. Psalm 85 includes that wonderful picture of peace and justice embracing and love and truth kissing each other. When will that vision come to fruition? The answer is “blowin’ in the wind” but we continue to trust God’s promise and we continue to pray for mercy and long for peace. Here is the entire psalm in English verse.
Lord, thou hast bless’d our wasted land ;
Thy terrors cease to burn ;
And, led by thy deliv’ring hand,
Our captive tribes return.
Thy people’s guilt is all forgiv’n,
Their sins are cover’d o’er;
Thy wrath’s fierce storm has onward driv’n,
Thy smile has dawn’d once more.
God our Saviour, turn us still,
And let thine anger end :
Or, shall its clouds of vengeful ill
From age to age descend ?
Wilt thou not turn, that, glad in thee,
Thy people’s heart may live ?
Oh, give us, Lord, thy grace to see,
Thy full salvation give.
I hearken for the Lord’s dear voice,
And hear him gently say
Peace to the people of his choice,
Who turn no more astray.
Oh, o’er the hearts that fear his name
His bright salvation glows :
So guards the Lord, in peaceful fame,
Our smiling land’s repose.
And truth and mercy joy to meet,
And justice clings to love :
They bloom like flow’rs beneath our feet,
They shine, like stars, above.
God gives his grace, and o’er the land
The waving harvests spread :
Beneath his smile the righteous stand,
And he shall guide their tread.