Thursday, April 13, 2006

Perfect Peace

It's an inner thing; it removes the occasion of war (cf George Fox).

Jesse Mock, the man with the most perfect peace I know, has a fascinating story of how he got that way. An 18 year old Moravian at the outbreak of World War II, he made the painful discovery that his church, a noted 'peace church', had replaced that great testimony with the kind of super patiotism that tends to infect us all at such times.

Even against the wishes of his ecclesiastical elders he declared conscientous objection. In due time he was sent off to a "C.O." camp; for the next four years he worked, usually in the arid forests of the West under a discipline remarkably similar to that of the Armed Forces.

That made of the teenager what seemed to me a fantastically debonair, victorious, and peaceable young man. Jesse is full of stories about those days, when he was serving his country under something close to prison conditions. I have to tell one:

The camp was terribly dry, no rain for months. They had been working (clearing brush or whatever) for three weeks without the opportunity for a bath. Fortuitously Jesse and another C.O. (conscientous objector) were given a jeep and delegated by the C.O. (commanding officer) to drive many miles for groceries.

Coming home the road touched on Lake Mead. Jesse and his fellow "trustee" parked, disrobed and proceeded to disport themselves in the cooling water.

Suddenly up came the C.O. with his wife. He stopped, gazed the scene, and waving his arm gave a loud order:
Come out of there. Jesse and friend began to come out. According to Jesse the eyes of the C.O.'s wife became as big as saucers.

When it dawned on the C.O. what was about to happen he countermanded his order: go back; go back, and of course they dutifully complied.

Jesse was full of such stories when we used to see him on the first day at the Brevard N.C. monthly meeting. Now he's bent over with osteoporosis or athritis or something, but he still has that debonair fun loving peaceable disposition that he acquired long ago 'serving his country' in time of war.

His perfect peace is within, and he came by it honestly. After the war, disillusioned with the Moravians, Jesse joined a denomination still devoted to the peace testimony. In fact he married a member. And Jesse is certainly one of the happiest people I know.


I_Wonder said...

Jesse sounds like an inspiring person that one would be fortunate to know and emulate.

Jon said...

Great story, Larry, and eductational, too. I didn't know about CO camps. Ugh. Glad to know someone bucked Caesar as well as the Kaiser.