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.
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!