I am writing this at the end of quite a momentous few weeks for this country. We have voted to leave the EEC, England were knocked out of the European cup by outsiders, Iceland, leaving only Wales and Ireland to go forward in the competition. But as much as these events have stirred the hearts of many there was one thing that occurred, that, for me, was far more moving. That event was the commemoration of the Battle of the Somme, remembering all those men who died. I’m not referring to the ceremony that took place at the memorial but to the “We’re here because” commemoration.
You can be forgiven for missing it as it was given a short slot on the News. In case you did miss it, it was a group of men in WW1 uniforms, divided between several cities. These men walked around then stood silently, handing out a card telling people who it was that they were representing. They never spoke a word until the end when they sang, “We’re here because” and in the last chant they shouted to depict that moment when they went over the top, and life came to an end. When asked about why they had been silent as they marched about, the creator said he had based it on reports of the men going through the towns and villages were not noticed, they did not make a noise, they were described as ghosts. In this world of noise this commemoration made a big impact on some people, as they watched tears rolled down their cheeks. Why did this make such an impact? Well I think that it brought home the message of the cost of war. Not just a home, or possession, but war costs lives, all those men were someone’s son/father/brother etc. There was no anonymity it was close range fighting, no laser guided weapons keeping the warring parties apart. No second, third or sixth chance, a kill shot was exactly what it says it was, unlike the video games youngsters, and the not so young, play.
But for me it was a reminder of another man who went silently to His death, like a lamb to the slaughter. His death brought about such benefits for us, because by it we can have eternal life, all we have to do is believe. His name of course was Jesus. That day at the Battle of the Somme, most of the British men would have been Christians, they knew the peace of God. In the middle of all the horrors of war and the terrible conditions they had an inner peace, given by God. He was there welcoming them into the wonders of heaven, as they left this earth, where there is no more pain or tears.
This is still on offer to us today. All may have eternal life, all may have the peace of God which passes our understanding, but in these days do we still need Him, or are our hearts hardened by what we see and do? Of course we need Him, and He still loves us and wants us to come to Him.