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Remembrance: A little girl, Jesus and war

November 7, 2015
While getting ready for this Remembrance time I read about a competition in a church paper (not local to here) where readers were encouraged to nominate people they believed best lived out their faith. Lots of emails and letters went in, mostly nominating people who had:
1. Attended their church faithfully over many years;
2. Given sizeable donations to their church and/ or charities; or
3. Both 1 and 2.
To support these nominations people included lots of references to articles in local newspapers and letters of thanks.
Finally the winner was announced and it was a real surprise. The nomination had been handwritten in crayon by a young girl and had no supporting letters. It simply said,  “Anthony is a plumber.  He helped some people fix up a house because their first house burned down.  He also visits my grandmother in the nursing home and make her happy with his stories and his harmonica playing.  He is a lot like Jesus.  I hope he wins.  But if he doesn’t it won’t matter.  He will still be the same Anthony. Love, Anne.”
That little story made me think that I would like to be, “a lot like Jesus”. I would like to be someone that shows that God is living in me by the way he helps me to live: By the way He makes me more loving, caring, patient and peaceful. I want to show a little bit of Jesus here and now. But how?
Well it’s not too hard for me to do quite well living for Jesus here in a nice home, in a lovely English country town. There are social issues and crime but generally my life is pretty safe and comfortable. But what about people have to do the dirty work so that I don’t have to? What about the police who have to arrest the criminals and keep us safe. What about my granddad in the Durham Light Infantry fighting a war in Afghanistan now long forgotten? What about all those in the military today who know there job is to kill people to keep the bad guys away and keep people like me and my family safe? How do they keep the peace of Christ in their hearts? What of Remembrance Sunday?
This is a messy, fallen world and the Bible doesn’t pretend otherwise.
I don’t know how I would cope with having to kill someone, even as part of a war. Sadly, I’m pretty sure I could do it. But what would it do to me afterwards? What would my faith look like then? Would my faith even survive? I pray for those that face these questions for real. I pray for them to know that they too are loved by God; that, in this fallen world, a soldier can still be a faithful servant of Christ. I pray that in the midst of the horror of war the peace of Christ will remain. I pray because I can only imagine the depth of faith it must take to know Christ with you not just in the heat of battle but also in the quiet time afterwards when there is time to think and remember; and regret.
Thankfully, I’ve never had to pull that trigger or release that missile. But I do agree that it is right that others do go through all of this on my behalf. I am not a pacifist. I do believe that police or military force is sometimes the lesser of evils. So I must support those who fight on my behalf. I need to remember those who have died in warfare. I also need to remember those who were hurt in body, mind or soul.
I pray that some little girl somewhere can write her letter about all that a soldier has done and be able to say that he or she was like Jesus for them.
That’s why this Remembrance I wear a poppy and contribute a little towards welfare of those who have fought and returned, their families, and the families of those who did not come back.
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