Home > Uncategorized > Marilynne Robinson: The sign was ignored and since then we have had war continuously

Marilynne Robinson: The sign was ignored and since then we have had war continuously

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Women writers on peace and war

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Marilynne Robinson
From Gilead

People don’t talk much of the Spanish influenza, but that was a terrible thing, and it struck just at the time of the Great War, just when we were getting involved in it. It killed soldiers by the thousands…..

Now, if these things were not signs, I don’t know what a sign would look like. So I wrote a sermon about it. I said, or I meant to say, that these deaths were rescuing foolish young men from the consequences of their own ignorance and courage, that the Lord was gathering them in before they could go off and commit murder against their brothers. And I said that their deaths were a sign and a warning to the rest of us that the desire for war would bring the consequences of war, because there is no ocean big enough to protect us from the Lord’s judgment when we decide to hammer our plowshares into swords and our pruning hooks into spears, in contempt of the will and grace of God.

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Most of the men seemed to feel that the war was a courageous thing, and maybe new wars have come along since I wrote this that have seemed brave to you. That there have been wars I have no doubt. I believe that plague was a great sign to us, and we refused to see it and take its meaning, and since then we have had war continuously.

Fair use disclaimer. This site is for educational purposes only and the above excerpts have been posted solely for that purpose.

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