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The Rector's Corner - "Your Country Needs YOU"

I wonder how many young men and women were excited by this

poster from 1914 when Lord Kitchener gave the call, by the call to

arms, by the enthusiasm that swept through town and village

communities to go off and join the war effort and to fight and prevail

against a faceless enemy who had invaded a friendly country.

I wonder how many were completely unaware of what they signed

up for or what fate awaited them. Full of camaraderie and hope and

seeing a future in this national effort many hundreds and thousands must

have been swept up in the euphoria of this great cause, this campaign this

great crusade against evil and despotism.

Unaware of the political implications many would have ventured to volunteer if

only in support of a country whose defence had been obliterated. To fight for

right and to defend an ally who was unable to defend herself. These calls

touched upon national honour, pride and defence of the innocence of pre-war


How many returned in 1916 following on from the battles of The Marne and

Gallipoli where over 6 million soldiers were injured and over 11/2 million killed?

These numbers were staggering especially to men who, in many cases came

from small towns and villages where these numbers of casualties could not be

comprehended, vast numbers losing their lives for what, many did not truly


Many of those young men were Christians, brought up in a strong faith and

went to war with the idea of defending the weak against the strong, the good

against the evil. All strong moral arguments that most of us would have been

brought up to understand and honour. These after all were the teachings of

church and school certainly here in Britain: defend the weak, support the poor

and give shelter to the pilgrim.

By 1918 the numbers killed had reached immeasurable proportions that

changed the face of the western world for ever. Whole social structures were

dashed away and a new spirit of the age was born.

My father fought in Afghanistan in 1932 until the outbreak of the 2nd World War

in 1939 where, once again, so many lost their lives or had their lives changed

by combat, and something new, the great numbers of civilian dead.

Since then men and women have been giving up their lives in Aden, Korea,

Sudan, The Falklands and many other theatres of war and still that feeling of

obligation comes to the surface when the “call to arms” is sounded despite the

poor care of our service men and women when conflict is over.

Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his


Does this explain it?

Does this explain why so many will embrace that call to fight and to defend?

I remember my father, who was a regular soldier, in his reply to my question,

“What does a soldier do?” saying,

“Soldiers are there to keep the peace.”

Not the answer I expected. Not, probably as a young man, what I wanted to

hear. I wanted to hear all about fighting and tactics and all the other things

that the comic books glorified

But there is no glory in death.

There is only glory in resurrection.

Jesus died a terrible death upon the cross, willingly going to the cross for all

the right reasons; to defend the weak against the strong, to uphold good

against evil, to resist the powers of an enemy who appears so strong.

He gave his life in order that all of mankind should live. Live for eternity with


That is the spirit with which so many willingly gave their lives for their fellow

men and women and we must at this time of Remembrance remember in

whose name so many young men and women died, for God, King and


We remember at this time of year the millions who died in conflict in the name

of war but we look always for the one who can help us in the name of peace

as we all strive to find that peace and, indeed, at times, fight for it.

Jesus said,” Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to

you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be

afraid.” John 14:27

At this time of Remembrance, I pray that you will find the peace for which your

heart is longing, the peace for which your soul is searching and the peace

which fills and fulfils you to eternal rest.

God bless you.

Rector Chris

If you have any questions that may raise themselves as a result of this

message please do not hesitate to email me through the website!

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