God’s Peace in a Time of War

Friday, April 4

4-4By Donald Kirby of Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

…When the church gathers for Communion, highlight the opportunity for members to reaffirm their baptismal covenant, to reconcile strained relationships, and to commit together to the church’s mission of promoting communities of generosity, justice, and peacefulness.

—Doctrine and Covenants 164:4b

I spent one year of my military life in a war zone in Vietnam. When we weren’t in battle, I worshiped with other men in the nondenominational chapel. Yearning for companionship with those of my faith, I wrote to the chief of chaplains in Washington, DC. He appointed me to represent Community of Christ at Bien Hoa Air Base.

The officers notified me when they assigned any new members of my faith to my area. I found we had 10 members.

These men challenged me to organize a time when we all could meet for worship. I was the only priesthood member present and always carried a traveling Communion set. Ten men had 10 duty schedules, so it was difficult to set a time when we could attend together. At last we had a gathering of four.

I still remember the hymn we sang, “In God’s most Holy Presence.” We gathered close, and all sang from the one hymnal I carried with me. We were aware that being in a war zone, we needed to feel right before our God. We wanted to be spiritually clean. We did not know if we would be alive in 24 hours!

We began the Communion service by asking God to renew and forgive us. Each person felt God’s Spirit of assurance. As we took part in Communion, God touched us with a deep sense of peacefulness in a time of war.

Prayer for Peace
Divine Spirit, we commune with you and open ourselves to your grace. We recommit our lives to the mission of Christ. We gather to share his love and peace with one another and the world community.

Spiritual Practice: Offering Blessings of Community
Receive and share Blessings of Community. Begin with a prayer of gratitude for the relationships in your life. See and feel connections with family members, spiritual friends, people in your congregation and community, and people and creatures in God’s sacred web of life. What blessings flow to you from these circles? How have you felt the love of the community?

Reflect, pray, or write in your journal about the call to be “Community of Christ.” Go deeper each day as you discern what acts of blessing Christ invites you to complete.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will keep scriptures on hand, ready to share your word with others.

Leave a comment


  1. Vera Entwistle

     /  4 April 2014

    Your story touched my heart, especially when I remembered that part of the words of the hymn you mentioned says “to grasp the hands of friendship.” I can’t begin to understand the emotions and concerns of those sent to war. I only know that my father would never talk to me about his war experiences…..always saying “best forgotten.” Even as a child I knew that he had not forgotten. I am sure your ministry to your friends was supportive of them and hopefully you were able to gain support from them, too. God bless you always.

  2. Keith McMillan

     /  4 April 2014

    I sincerely enjoyed your testimony, your willingness to serve and the can only imagine the ministry provided in a difficult situation. Thank you!

  3. Bess

     /  4 April 2014

    Thank you for your testimony. I am glad you responded to the ministry you were called to provide at that time. You reflect the prayers we send to be with others . Troops are not forgotten in our prayers, then or now. Peace in the midst of turmoil is the ultimate testament of God’s Presence. Thanks again.

  4. Donald, this is a wonderful testimony of grace, which I appreciate very much. I wish we could have opportunity to visit about it sometime. Thank you for sharing this special time with the community. I personally feel honored to share in this treasured moment of your journey.


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