November is a time of remembrance. We remember loved ones who have departed this life, as well as those who have given their lives in the service of their country. As we watch the news on our televisions or read our newspapers, we are constantly made aware of the conflicts that are going on in the world today, so this is a time when it is important to show solidarity.
On Remembrance Sunday the poppy offers a symbol that speaks volumes. Thousands of poppies grew in the soil churned up by fighting on the battlefields of the First World War, and this humble flower has become a symbol of remembrance. We think of the sacrifices made by our armed forces, and the red petal of the poppy reminds us of bloodshed, of lives lost, of human greed, and of countless lives marked forever by pain and fear.
In St John’s Gospel Jesus says “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” so it is right that we should honour these gallant people who put their lives on the line for us.
“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old: age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them”
The green leaf of the poppy reminds us of the possibility of new life, a new start. For Christians this new start comes through Jesus, the one who laid down his life not only for his friends but for all people in all places at all times (and so that means me and you!)
One of the many beautiful descriptive names given to Jesus is ‘Prince of Peace’. Many people wear a white poppy at this time, their desire and prayer be that peace should come upon the earth.
Red, green and white, they all have their part to play. In remembering the past let us do all we can in the present to bring an end to fighting and disunity, so that all people may know God’s peace and loving provision day by day.
Yours in Jesus
Rev Michelle Ireland