During this month we will join many other people in marking Remembrance Day. This year being especially significant as it marks the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Many people will gather on Remembrance Day wearing a poppy. The poppy is our way of showing appreciation for the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces and their veterans. It is also a time to remember present day conflicts, to pray for peace and to think of the many families who watch and wait for loved ones to come home from dangerous places.
The symbol of the poppy is born out of an image from the First World War. Previously beautiful countryside was blasted and bombed again and again until turned into fields of mud where very little could grow. But then out of this depressing scene of devastation the delicate bright red Flanders poppies grew. Shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote his famous poem 'In Flanders Fields'. This poem inspired others to make and sell poppies to raise funds for needy servicemen and their families. They have since become a poignant symbol of Remembrance.
For the first three weeks in November we are running a study course on 'War and Peace' at Alton Methodist Church from 7.30pm, recognising and respecting that this can be a difficult and emotive subject that raises many questions!
Thursday November 1st — War & Peace in the Old Testament led by Rev Clive Anderson (Butts Church)
Thursday November 8th — War & Peace in the New Testament led by Rev Andrew Micklefield (St Lawrence Church)
Thursday November 15th — A Military Chaplains Perspective led by Rev Dave Crees, Army Chaplain to Sandhurst Military Academy.
Everyone is invited to come along and listen to the talks as well as share in what I am sure will prove to be a lively discussion.
By a monument of marble
Or a simple wooden cross,
Here we gather to remember
Sacrifice and tragic loss.
Blood-red poppy petals flutter,
Each a symbol for a life,
Drifting in a crimson curtain,
Shadow of our constant strife.
Solemn silence now surrounds us
As we stand in memory.
Why must factions stir up conflict?
This eternal mystery
Troubles hearts and stirs the conscience,
Urges us to think again;
Face the curse of confrontation,
Yet reduce the searing pain.
For the sound of war still thunders
Through our planet, on this day.
Every hour new victims suffer,
Even as we meet to pray.
God, we need your help and guidance
In our constant search for peace.
Move us on to new solutions
As we pray that wars may cease.
(Marjorie Dobson Singing the Faith 131)
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