‘we will remember them.‘ (R L Binyon)
Ever since 11 November 1919, in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, where the first Armistice Day was celebrated, we have remembered the fallen. In Ypres, the fire brigade there remember the fallen every night, at 20:00, the road through the Menin Gate is closed and the fire brigade march from the nearby station to the gate, they play The Last Post and Reveille, and then March back; it is a very moving experience to witness.
As with the last 98 years, at this time of year we join with people everywhere in remembering those brave men and women, who laid down their lives for their belief of freedom, for their families, and their friends. We may not know who they were, but we still remember. That is why their sacrifice is so poignant.
We need remember everything that the brave men and women did and still do for us during times of conflict, as without them, truly, the world would be very different.
We should also remember that another well known sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Soldiers are not perfect people as they go out willingly to protect us and keep us safe; Jesus was, for ‘by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy‘ (Hebrews 10:14 NIV). Paul in his letter to the Hebrews reminded them of the fact that Jesus was perfect (Hebrews 5:8-9 NIV), and that He ‘became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him‘ (v 9).
Jesus said, ‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life‘ (John 15:13 NLT) and the laying down their lives is what we will be remembering, but Jesus continued saying, ‘lay down one’s life for one’s friends‘ (v 13). Jesus said to His disciples, that ‘You [they and us] are my friends if you do what I command‘ (John 15:14 NIV).
How much are you willing to do for your family and friends?
How much are you willing to do for Jesus?
Avenham Park, Preston (2014)
For the Fallen (R L Binyon 1869-1943)
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit.
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into mortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
Straight of limb, true of eye,
steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the daytime;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a wellspring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the night.
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Father God, we thank you for your great love for us, which you showed when you sent your Son to die for us. Help us not to be selfish, and self-centred and to start living and loving like he did. This world desperately needs your love, as without it, men, women and children will keep dying in senseless wars that solve nothing. We know that the only way is through Jesus, the way and the truth. Help us to show that way to others through the love that we show in our lives, help us to be better.
Lord we pray for peace for all families that are remembering someone they lost due to conflict, bring them peace as only you can. Wrap your loving arms around them, and be with them always.