Service Recording: November 11, 2018
November 11, 2018 ~ 10:30am
The People of Peace Church
Maggie Fink, ASL Interpreter
Betty Greene, Lay Leader
Rev. John Pegg, Veteran and Guest Preacher
Jim Pospisil, Music Director
Nathan Holst, Faith Formation Minister
Rev. Kathryn Nelson
Prelude “La Folia” by Corelli played by Mia Kraker, violin
Greeting One Another
Ringing of the Peace Bells and Candles Lit by Acolytes
God is Revealed as We Gather
*Responsive Call to Worship
On this, the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day, we remember that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
As we honor our Veterans and pray for the places of ongoing conflict, may we remember our help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121)
Let us honor all those who have gone before us by answering the call of Micah, “What does the Lord require of you but to
do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with
We meet in the presence of God. Let us commit ourselves
to walk in faith and work for peace.
*Opening Hymn “Peace Will Surely Come” (#13 P&W Songbook)
Unison Prayer of Confession Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Holy One, for those whom we have asked to bear the
horror of our violence, we offer our prayers of thanks
for their willingness to stand between us and our fears,
for forgiveness for having asked them,
for healing for the damage to their souls and ours.
May we give others peace to bear, not fear;
healing to carry, not weapons; and send them into
blessing, not danger. May we, too, have the courage to serve, to risk, to give our lives in love for the sake of our homeland, which is the Kingdom of God, the whole human family, in the spirit of peace. Amen.
Story for All Ages
Kids’ Choir “Here I Am, Lord”
Dedication of Our Financial Pledges for 2019
Prayer of Dedication by Our Stewardship Team
God is Revealed in the Word
God’s Word in the Hebrew Scriptures:
Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18
God’s Word in the Gospel: Luke 6:27–36
Letters Home from Dick Eschbach while serving in Vietnam, 1969-70
read by Ezra Schomberg
Armistice Day 2018 – letters from Dick Eschbach
Excerpts of Letters from Dick Eschbach that he sent home to his parents while he was serving in Viet Nam 1969 – 1970 as a Platoon Sargeant . . He was 20 years old.
Dear Mom and Dad, I arrived 1 ½ days ago. The weather is what they make it out to be. I’ve only heard a few rounds fired and received only two mortar rounds in an old field. Things are quiet around here. I should be shipping out from here this morning. I still don’t know where through.
How is everyone? . Is grandma out of the hospital? Has it been nice up at the lake? We’re going to have formation pretty soon so I’ll have to close. I arrived safe and sound so don’t worry. I f you worry then I worry so please don’t’. In a way I’m looking forward to this year. I’m proud to be over here. Well time to close, say hi to everyone. Take good care. All my love and missing Dick.
July 16, 1969
Dear Mom and Dad . . I’m back at LZ Dolly again. We left yesterday to go to an area to make contact and find enemy caches. The ark lighted the whole area the night before. An arklight is a B-52 airstrike dropping Napalm and high explosives. .. . We were told that enemy contact was eminent. My mind went in all directions. I started to think of people, places and home. I don’t have any qualms about saying I was a little afraid. It’s different when you go to an area knowing the enemy is there, but not knowing if he’s planning on making contact. Yesterday we knew he would stand his ground. We received no casualties yesterday.
November 12, 1969
Dear Mom and Dad
Its evening now and I’m writing this by candlelight. It’s getting to be a real drag over here. I’m getting sick of it. I sick of the killing and seeing death. It doesn’t frighten me going into combat anymore but it makes me sick to think that little kids could be killed. They know no other way of life. I’d go through all of this of swamps, disease, rain heat and bamboo for 3 more years if there didn’t have to be anymore killing
Here’s a poem I wrote. What do you think?
Toll of Destruction
Destruction doesn’t choose
Whom or what it will loose
To kill or to maim
That is its game
The crash of a bomb
A child calls mom
But mom isn’t there
A bomb doesn’t care.
A weapon fires,
The bullet in him mires
Now a man is dead
Destruction has been fed.
December 19, 1969
Dear Mom and Dad,
This is going to be short to let you know that I’m alright. We got into the LZ earlier then we though we would, so we’ll be out in the bush for Christmas. One good thing about spending Christmas away from home is that I’ve found the true meaning of Christmas. It isn’t the gifts. It’s the religious meaning and family togetherness.
Today I went on a Medcap It’s when the medics go into a village to treat the villagers. I volunteered to be security. That way I got to hand out the toys you send. They sure did love them and they wouldn’t leave me. I sure was n my glry with the kids.
Well that’s about all for now. I hope you have or had a Merry Christmas. You’re in my prayers. All my love and missing — Dick
March 21, 1970
Letter to the President
I’m now serving in Viet Nam as a Platoon Sargent E – 6. I have been over here for about 10 months. In my 10 months I have not yet come up with the reason for being over here. I’ve thought of many reasons for being here, but now all my reasons have gone out the window. I used to believe that I was standing for patriotism. I definitely believe in my country and flag. I feel that our government knows what it is doing and wouldn’t have me over here if it wasn’t a necessity. I also know that we offer our aid to any nation that needs it. All these reasons are good and I do stand for them. I love my country. The question I would like answered is what are we fighting for over here in Vietnam?
Anthem “Even When He Is Silent” by Kim André Arnesen
Reflections by Rev. John Pegg
Sermon Transcript - Rev. John Clark Pegg, USMC Vietnam Era veteran
When Kathy called and asked if I’d like to speak on Nov. 11th, my immediate reaction was, “yes,” of course I’m interested. I’m a veteran and it seemed like a good idea for me to share some thoughts on this day set aside for remembrance. As time went on, however, things became a little more complicated and daunting for me. I started to think, how do I encapsulate in 10 or 15 minutes what the major focus of my life has been for over 50 years? The answer is, of course, I just can’t do it all and at best need to touch on only a few points. So, bear with me as I try to do that.
When I was a young man and half way through college, I didn’t know what I was doing in school and I realized that I needed to take some time to figure things out, much to my mother’s dismay. That was 1961, and so after talking to a Marine Corps recruiter in New York City I did what countless other young men and women have done over the years. Wanting to be part of something bigger than myself, and believing that serving my country was an honorable thing to do, I enlisted for a three year tour of duty and headed off to Parris Island, South Carolina the beginning of 1962.
I had many valuable experiences in the Marines and went through some challenging training. I have a great deal of respect for the men and women who serve and a strong loyalty to the Corps (along with some fierce criticisms for the way things are done).
But as time went on and my duties changed, I found myself in a position in my Battalion headquarters where I was reading information coming in from Vietnam about how the war was going over there in those early years. And as I read those reports and compared that information to what we were hearing through the public media, I realized that the American public was being fed a bill of goods that just wasn’t true. What we were being told was meant to justify our country’s policies and presence in Vietnam, but the reality of what was going on just didn’t match up with why I had decided to serve my country. I became opposed to the war while still on active duty and that formed the foundation for my opposition to war ever since.
In fact my awareness reflects a statement made by one of my heroes, Marine Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, the winner of two Congressional Medals of Honor. In reflecting on his career after he retired, he said:
I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General, and during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
Gen. Butler brings us back to World War I (the Era in which he served), which began on European soil in 1914 and in April, 1917 President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to commit our troops to “a war to end all wars” that would “make the world safe for democracy.” As a result of that war, forty million military personnel and civilians were killed or wounded and another seven million taken captive. Another 50 to 100 million people perished from a flu epidemic created by the war. “Never before,” writes author and activist David Swanson, “had people witnessed such industrialized slaughter, with tens of thousands falling in a day to machine guns and poison gas.” A stunned and exhausted Western Alliance greeted November 11, 1918, the day the war came to an end, as its delivery from horror.
In 1938, the U.S. Congress finally declared Armistice Day a legal holiday dedicated to the cause of world peace. Howevr, in 1954, towards the end of the unpopular Korean War, the holiday was renamed Veterans Day, paying homage to the economic interests of the military-industrial-government complex which has morphed Nov. 11th into an occasion for flag waving, honoring the military, glorifying war, and having military parades.
Today, Veterans for Peace, an organization that I have been committed to for many years, wants to reclaim Armistice Day and reject the glorification of war in an age where our country has become embroiled literally in fighting endless wars, rather than working to end war.
Veterans for Peace is an international organization consisting of 150 chapters across the U.S. and abroad (including Chapter 80 serving northern Minnesota and Wisconsin) dedicated to building a culture of peace and justice, exposing the true costs of war, and healing the wounds of war.
In a nutshell, our mission includes programs and actions to:
- Seek justice for veterans and victims of war.
- Abolish war as an instrument of national policy.
- Restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations.
- End the arms race and eliminate nuclear weapons.
Membership in Veterans for Peace is not limited to veterans, as we need all the help we can get! So, please see me after worship if you’d like to know more or get involved.
Together we all need to work for the things that make for peace. For peace is more than the absence of war. Peace is acceptance of others as our neighbors no matter where they are, or what they look like. It means not demonizing them (as we who served in the military learned to do to make killing them more palatable), but respecting their humanity as being made in the image of God regardless of who or how they worship. Peace means working for justice for all, for that is how we show love not only for our neighbors, but as Jesus commanded, even our enemies. Peace means making sure that women, minorities, and all people have equal rights. Peace means acknowledging that as Mahatma Gandhi said, “the world holds enough for each person’s need, but not for each person’s greed,” and working to ensure that the basic human rights of all (for food, shelter, health care, and economic sustainability) are met.
In the Book of Proverbs (29:18), it is said, “Where there is no prophetic vision, the people will perish (run amok, be unrestrained or uncontrolled). But happy or blessed are those who keep (or follow) God’s law.” And what is the core of God’s law but to love God and our neighbor, and to show love and respect for those who are different from us, even our enemies.
As those who profess to follow Christ’s way, each time we pray Jesus’ prayer together or alone, we need to be mindful of Jesus’ words “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Our Lord’s Prayer is not some “pie in the sky” mantra that we chant together. It challenges us to dwell in and work for the reality of God’s reign of peace and justice here on earth and to work for it each and every day of our lives. God calls us to actively participate in God’s prophetic vision of peace on earth, for truly as Jesus taught, “blessed are those who work for peace, for they will be called children of God.” May it be so for us all!
by Rev. John Clark Pegg, USMC Vietnam Era veteran
Song “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan (insert)
We Respond to God’s Presence
Sharing Our Prayer Concerns, Silent Prayer, Pastoral Prayer,
the Lord’s Prayer (with debts) and Choral Amen
Sharing our Offerings
Offertory Gavotte by Rameau
*The Thanksgiving “Doxology” (#780)
*Unison Prayer of Dedication
Bless these offerings, O God, returned to you. Multiply
and use them to bring the word and the touch of Jesus
to this place and throughout the world. Amen.
*Closing Hymn “This is My Song…” (#591)