Remembrance 100

POPPIES 11-20182nd November 2018

As the nation stops to remember 100 years since the end of World War 1, Rev Peter Timothy, Minister at Park Baptist Church, reflects on the nature of  remembrance and peace

My childhood memories of Armistice Day involve images of Chelsea pensioners slowly walking in their bright red uniforms to place a wreath at the Cenotaph in London
These veterans of World War One held an almost mythical aura in my mind; living relics of history. Through watching their annual march and observing their silence, I felt somehow connected to their lives and their traumatic and heroic experiences
As the years went by, these soldiers gradually decreased until none were left. Now it is the WWII veterans who are held in that same venerable esteem. As a minister I consider it a great privilege to have pastored several of these humble and unassuming heroes in their final years
This month we commemorate 100 years since the end of the Great War, and it is right that we honour those who fought for our country, and the many who gave their lives in the process - including 28 young men from Park
We may disagree with some of the justifications behind war, but that should not prevent us from recognising bravery, duty and sacrifice. One of the most popular ways of doing this is by wearing a poppy
The poppy has become such a powerful symbol of national pride, but in recent years this pride has been tinged by a minority who aggressively demand universal allegiance to it, or else be labelled ‘unpatriotic’ or ‘disrespectful’
Needless to say this misunderstands what the poppy represents. Freedom of choice is something many gave their lives to preserve and that continues through whether we choose to wear a poppy every November
I have chosen to wear both a red and a white poppy - the latter a symbol of peace worn since 1933. I do so to remember and honour the dead, but also to lament the tragic loss of life through war and to recommit myself to being an advocate for peace in my life and my community
As a Christian, I believe the words of Isaiah describing Jesus as the “Prince of Peace”, but yet peace seems so elusive in our world, despite our prayers and petitions to God. I wonder whether our predecessors also struggled with this as they lined up in muddy trenches, freezing ships and hovered overhead through cloudy skies
Ultimately I am reminded of Jesus’ words in John 16:33: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”.  The resurrection makes this possible and as those who serve Christ, we are part of his plan to bring peace to our world. So may we be peacemakers who remember the past but also bring hope for the future


 The views carried here are those of the author, not of Network Yarmouth, and are intended to stimulate constructive and good-natured debate between website users

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