A day without taking the symbols

The previous weekends our thought were with the many people who died in the many wars. In World War I it looked for many as if the world would come to an end. And after the horrible battle was finished many thought it would never happen again.

Poppies between the grass and cornflowers in Flanders, Belgium

Chris Adwards, in the first weekend of November talked about the remembrance poppy, which originally in Flanders was a sign of conquest and possibility of preponderance, because the flower was so strong it came back every year again and if nothing was done at the fields seemed to grow with thousands.

During the First World War the Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was also astonished by the beauty of that wild flower. This red rose inspired him to write a war poem in the form of a rondeau. “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.”

Soldiers could take up their quarrel with the foe but no matter what happened and how the ground was filled with holes form the bombs, this beuatifu flower brought the only fresh colour next to the blood, into the fields. Many blood was shed and mingled with the red of the flowers which still kept growing as if the world could not harm it.

In Flanders for centuries there has been a battlefield for many countries.

At those battles strangely enough many called to God to help them and where sure that God was on their side. At times, on Christmas night they took time off and came together to sing songs and to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, whom they all called their saviour.

After Jesus had died his followers came together at regular times to remember a more important day than his birth. The day before Jesus was going to die should be the more important day for all Christians. On that night Jesus took bread and wine and asked his disciples to remember what he was doing that night. Later, in the breaking of the bread others could see the sign of Christ.

Jesus had declared, “I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” His followers had to remember his actions and do the breaking of bread as a remembrance of the last meal the apostles and Christ had together, but in the first place as the sign of the New Covenant.

Normally on several days in the year we come together to remember the death of Christ and this breaking of bread on the night before he died.

Bread and wine are also symbols of life and of the products of the earth and the products of God the Creator. It is also a symbol of unification. In a family the members come together to eat with each other and to share the wine. Most welcome friends are also invited at the table. People are not able to live without food, and Jesus has become our food. God has provided the food for life and we can accept Jesus peace offering by sharing the bread and wine with each other.

In the ecclesia we come together as brothers and sisters and invite others to come and join us. The gathering is about welcome, meeting our desperate need, recognising Jesus, compassion, acceptance, undeserved love, God’s provision and the right response of our hearts. This time of the year we not only think about Jesus’ death, but about many who lost their life in ridiculous battles, which could have been avoided when people would have lived more according to the Will of God and not according to their lusts.

Greed and want are those things which bring problems and let other people want to have property what does not originally belong to them. It makes people wanting more than that what God has already given them.

Perhaps therefore it is not bad to stand still and think about our wishes and about our greed and wrong intentions. Even when people where saved from slavery and on their way to the promised land they where not pleased whit what God gave them. Some of them also preferred to take more manna than needed. Israel was given manna and quails when they had no other food in the wilderness.  They got fed up with it and we must be careful that our remembrance services don’t become ordinary and turn the special privilege we have of remembering Jesus in bread and wine into the mundane.

Therefore last Sunday we contemplated and we remembered the difficult moments Christ had to go through and the horrible nightmare which befell so many youngsters when they had to go the war in the Great War. We thought of the storm Paul and the members on the ship had to face (Reading of the day: Acts chapters 26-27)

English: A remembrance poppy from Canada, worn...
English: A remembrance poppy from Canada, worn on the lapel of a men’s suit. In many Commonwealth countries, poppies are worn to commemorate soldiers who have died in war, with usage most common in the week leading up to Remembrance Day (and Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand). The use of the poppy was inspired by the World War I poem In Flanders Fields, written by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Accused by the Jews of being a “pestilent fellow …  a mover of sedition …  and the ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes …  [who had] gone about to profane the temple” (Acts 24:5, 6), Paul took his stand, as a follower of Jesus Christ, on the basis of the promises to Israel.  The focus of the apostle’s faith was on the promises to the fathers of Israel.  On those promises we need to meditate more often.

In all those previous time people did not listen to God and did not have their eyes focused on the love of Christ. Today we still see these people who are blockheads and stick their fingers in their ears so they won’t have to listen. They screw their eyes shut so they won’t have to look, so they won’t have to deal with me face-to-face and let me heal them. (Acts 28:27)

Sunday the 11th of November those who lost their lives fighting in two world wars were remembered at war memorials throughout the world. Not only at war memorials but in hundreds of thousands of homes across the world the eye may have rest for more than a moment on a fading photo of seventy years ago: so too the fresher photos of those lost in many conflicts since. Not only are the soldiers remembered but the many civilians too who lost their lives because of enemy action.  Many people in wars were bullied or even killed because of their believes. Our thoughts were with those who gave their live for not giving in to false teachings and for wanting to serve the only One God.

Only those over about seventy-five years-of-age will perhaps recall the joyful release of 1945. Like people imprisoned and delivered from a tremendous storm, people spilled out onto the streets in joyful celebration as the news spread that hostilities had finally ceased. The restrictions, dangers and distresses of six years of war seemed to be over. But it took years to recover. For years in the schools pupils had to share one book with three pupils and ot be happy to have enough chalk to write on the slates. In Belgium, Holland, France and Britain  many items that we now take for granted remained rationed for several years. For a decade or more, buildings gutted by bombing remained as silent witnesses.

It took more forty years after the end of the war to pay the U.S. for the loan provided by their government to help economic recovery.

The winter of 1946-47 was the coldest for half a century in England, Holland and Belgium had to face a terrible storm and flood in 1953. Combined with consequent power shortages, post-war life was hard. Normal life did not return for a long time.

At our time of wealth it is not bad to take a moment to stand still at all those hardships.

Because there is still so much trouble in the world, we had a special talk on the Paris meeting on the 17th of October with a collection for the help funds. On the 11th of November we took distance of partaking the breaking of bread at the service, because it was a moment of silence and part of coming to proper understanding of what Jesus had done and why.

As children of God, we have a destination. There are, and have been many storms on the way. We may have suffered loss of property. We, or those near to us, may have been (or are) ill. The record in Acts 27 does not say that Paul was ill, but few people can resist the violent motion of the heaving sea on their stomachs. The people around Paul were afraid of ‘the sea and waves roaring’ but he remained calm. So should we. So must we. The tyrants and the terrors of this world must necessarily come and go but the Word of the Lord remains sure. Peter writes:

And although it wasn’t revealed to them, [it was] to you. For they were just servants of things that those who preached the good news to you have shown you, through the Holy Breath that was sent from heaven, and which even the messengers [of God] want to learn more about.  As the result, prepare your minds to understand! Be perfectly sober about your hope of the loving care that will be conveyed to you at the revelation of Jesus the Anointed One.  As obedient children, don’t go back to being what you used to be by desiring ignorant things.  But, like the Holy One who called you, become holy in all your ways.  For it is written, ‘You must be holy, because I am holy!’  So, if you are calling on this Father (who doesn’t discriminate, but judges each one by what he does), it’s time for you to fearfully turn back from your isolation.  For, you must recognize that the ransom, which was paid to release you from the worthless way of life that you learned from your fathers, wasn’t paid for with things that corrode, like silver or gold.  It was [paid for] with the precious blood of the Anointed One, who is like a spotless and perfect lamb.  Although he was known before the arrangement was established, he is being recognized in you at the end of this period in time,  whenever you (through him) are being faithful to God (He who raised him from the dead and glorified him), so that your faith and hope will be in God.  Now that obedience to the truth has purified your lives; truly care about your brothers and reach out in sincere love for them with your whole hearts.  For, you weren’t regenerated as seeds that rot, but by something that doesn’t decay… the promises of the living and enduring God.  Because, ‘All flesh is like grass, and its glory is like flowers in a field. Grass dries up and flowers drop,  but the words of Jehovah are age-long.’ These are the words that we preached to you as good news.
(1 Peter 1:12-25 2001)

Because our flesh is as grass, and all the esteem of man as the poppyflower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the Word of Elohim, the Most High God remains forever.

As in the Newburry ecclesia where they also celebrated their communion service in a different way from the usual, we only remembered the symbols symbolically.  In Newburry their lunch beforehand included bread and wine but they didn’t eat all of it.  We also left over for the needy ones and had our thoughts with all the people in distress and need.

But we were very pleased to have been together in a series of an inspired meetings about life and death. The abstinence of something which seems so obvious was not a bad idea to remember all of what God has given us and that we may be blessed to have the Word, announced as Good News to us all.

No Mans Land, Flanders Field, France, 1919 (LOC)
No Mans Land, Flanders Field, France, 1919 (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

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Read also:

  1. Sunday Afternoon at St Cassian’s
  2. Destination of the rightuous

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Also of interest:

  1. 11 November, a day to remember #1 Until Industrialisation
  2. 11 November, a day to remember #2 From the Industrialisation
  3. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures
  4. 1914 – 2014 preparations
  5. “In Flanders fields the poppies blow”
  6. In Flanders Fields
  7. My French Country Home by Sharon Santoni; 11 november, a day of remembrance
  8. Jeff Pelline’s In Flanders Fields
  9. World Agenda for Sustainability
  10. Apartheid or Apartness #2 Up to 2nd part 20th Century
  11. Palestine, Israel, God’s people and democracy

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  • Lord’s Table: November meditation (jonwymer.com)
    Many of you who grew up in other tribes of Christianity have heard Communion, or the Lord’s Table, referred to as the Eucharist. Eucharist means “thanksgiving” and Christians truly have every reason to be thankful to God for what he has done in his Son, Jesus Christ.
  • A time of rememberance – where’s my red poppy? (lifeasiknowitv1.wordpress.com)
    I kept seeing people wearing red poppies but I was not able to locate one for myself.
  • A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things. No. 6 (On the Breaking of Bread. – No. I.) (godsbreath.wordpress.com)
    That the breaking of bread in commemoration of the sacrifice of Christ, is a part, or an act of Christian worship, is generally admitted by professors of Christianity. Romanists and Protestants of almost every name agree in this. The Society of Friends form the chief, if not the only exception in Christendom, to this general acknowledgment.
  • Poppies to remember: Or to forget? (breathofgreenair.wordpress.com)
    Poppies have always seemed rather cheerful flowers to me, with their vivacious red petals filling my borders with colour year after year. So to me it has always seemed a bit of a misfit with the somber remembrance of the loss hundreds of thousands of vibrant lives, on the 11th of November every year.
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    Perhaps the poppy is after all the perfect symbol, known as the flower of forgetfulness, its opium juice has been fueling conflict in Afghanistan for countless years. It springs hopeful from the battle-scarred earth, but its hope is cut down every year, as new conflicts arise.
  • Remembrance Day: Poppy History (ricksdesk.wordpress.com)
    This is the story of how the red field poppy came to be known as an internationally recognized symbol of Remembrance. From its association with poppies flowering in the spring of 1915 on the battlefields of Belgium, France and Gallipoli this vivid red flower has become synonymous with great loss of life in war.
  • Remembrance Day: The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month (zaraalexis.wordpress.com)
    It’s a day to remember the members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty and their families.
  • How is your love life ~ A Rembrance Day Story for your heart (greatpoetrymhf.wordpress.com)
    We used to say. / We would stop and gossip / No time to pray.
  • The invasion of the poppies – Remembrance Day in London (hanoiansnippets.wordpress.com)
    Big Ben’s hands struck 11, its chimes cutting through the dead silent air of Westminster. It’s not uncommon to see thousands of people surrounding this London landmark, but very much so to witness the entire square fall silent in unison for 2 minutes.
  • Lest We Forget: “In Flanders Fields” (firefliesofhope.typepad.com)
    Each year on Veterans Day I try to read the famous war poem, “In Flanders Fields”, by WWI soldier John McCrae [see poem below], and to listen to musical excerpts from ” War Requiem “, by Benjamin Britten, whose solos are set to poetry written by another WWI soldier, Wilfred Owen .
  • Why I’ll Wear a Poppy on Remembrance Day (studentlife.ryerson.ca)
    Over the last week I have noticed poppies sprouting up on lapels and jacket collars.
    I think that all of us at Ryerson should be wearing a poppy this week, in the days leading up to Remembrance Day on Sunday.
    The poppy, a symbol of remembrance, is our visual pledge as Canadians to never forget those who have fallen in war and military operations.

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