November Thought for the Month

Published on: 09 Nov 2012

November Thought for the Month

with Rev Philip Simpkins, Keynsham Methodist Church Rev Phillip Simpkins

The poppy has been a symbol of remembrance since the end of the First World War. Its use is said to be inspired by the now famous poem In Flanders Fields.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Lt Colonel John McCrae (1872 –1918)

As a relative newcomer to Keynsham I have found the Remembrance Day Service and parade through the high street very moving as so many people of all ages have stood to commemorate those who have served in the armed forces.

We think of those who have tragically lost their lives, those injured and often scarred for life, as well as families and loved ones who have received news so hard to bear.

We also remember the immense courage and sacrifice of those presently serving in conflicts around the world and pray for their relatives and friends as they watch and wait for them to come safely home.

Remembering the cost of war and conflict reminds us of the importance of working for peace whenever possible. We often read wise words from the bible on Remembrance Day:  “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.”

I don’t think being a peacemaker means keeping your head down and doing anything for a quiet life, I think it means actively working to bring peace in any number of situations – and that can prove costly.

Nelson Mandela, a past winner of the Nobel Peace Prize actively pursued peace, equality and justice between black and white in South Africa much to his own personal cost.

In his book Long Walk to Freedom, he writes: “At every opportunity, I said, all South Africans must now unite and join hands and say we are one country, one nation, one people, marching together into the future…”

On November 11 as we remember conflicts past and present may we reflect on the importance of working for peace and actively being a peacemaker. Maybe we can set an example and play our part in defusing conflict while standing up for what is good and right.

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