Al. the moment that I sit down to write the press is full of the exchange of prisoners for which arrangements without precedent in the history of modern warfare have been made. Our men are not coming home to us via some neutral country but will be fetched direct from an enemy-occupied port and we shall return our own prisoners in the same way. •' If the hospital ships have to steam in darkness," says one paper, " they will do so with lights ablaze, signalling their errand to the skies... The safety corridor will be lit up by searchlights and the docks at either end will have peace-time illumination. . . . In the heart of the battle zone there will be peace."
Will there, one wonders, be at the same time some healing pool of peace in the battle zone of hatred and bitterness and lust for revenge? Will there be, for a few hours, some turning towards the light of those 'responsible for the darkness? Will the joy and the thankfulness in each heart as it nears the shores of its homeland deepen into resolve for the betterment of mankind?
Or when the hospital ships return to their bases and the lights go out at the ports, when the men are safely in their homes and the zone of peace is re-absorbed into the battle, will our thankufferings subside, our vows become fainter. our belief be swamped in apathy?
We, like Job, have lifted up our face to God and made our prayer unto Him and He has heard us. We, like Job, have each, in the time of darkness, made our vow to Him. Are we going to pay that vow, " that the light may shine upon our ways and that He may deliver the island or the innocent," or are we going to allow the memory of those vows to dim and its radiance to he lost? That is a question that each one of us must answer for ourselves before we can demand it of those who are in charge of the conduct of the war.
We are all of us prisoners of war—bound by the drains of prejudice and pride. suffering fear, tormented by doubts, lighting our ghostly enemy—but theme is for all of us a Corridor of Safety, there is for each suffering soul the exchange that can bring him to the harbour where he would be, and the lights are there in the channel, the beacons turn slowly through the night and the course is set for all to follow. And Peter waits to steer us into port.
THEREFORE, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vacation in which you are called, with all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity, careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.
" One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling.' " One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism. " One God and Father of all, Who It above all and through all and in ins all,
" But to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the giving
of Christ. Wherefore Inc Ascending on high He led captivity captive; He gate gifts to men.'
" Now that He ascended. what is it but because He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens, that he might fill all things . . . for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of tine Body of Christ until we all meet into the unity of faith and of thg knowledge of the Son of God. unto a perfect nuns. into the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ."
—(St. Paul to the Ephesiansj