There are moments in life when one is stopped in one’s tracks. This poppy did it for me this morning. In full flower in a neighbour’s garden on Armisitce Day. A sign of peace, the cessation of war, and a moment to provoke remembrance. The way we do that is unique to each of us. Family stories of those who went to war; those who returned and those who didn’t.
The poppies that broke through the craters and devastation on the battlefields spoke of new life from the pain of war. No one can measure the profound effect of war and its aftermath. My Grandmother continued to weep for her brother, who died in a prisoner of war camp, until the end of her life. My Grandfather spent 5 years in POW camps and was a broken man when he returned. All this can be multiplied ad infinitum, on all sides.
All we can do is stop for a moment at the 11th Hour of the 11th month and be silent in the face of such sadness and pain. All I can offer in this moment are the words of Jesus to his friends as he prepared them for what was about to happen; ‘Greater love has no-one than this, that a man/woman lay down their life for their friends.’ Jesus knew the cost of the love of God for the world, and willingly became human. He went through the struggles of life and the moment of death. He understands our deepest fears. As the early words of John’s Gospel proclaim; ‘The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.’
Remembrance, the fragility of the poppy, the hope of light in darkness. God’s love for the world. Let remembrance speak into your heart and soul, reminding yourself that God holds you and all people in the palm of his hand.