Thought I would share this newspaper article from 1915 from the church I attend. It is part of the sermon given at the dedication of a war memorial for two cousins who died in the first world war.
“Some will say “Why does God allow fair young lives to be cut down like this? Why does He not blast the designs of the Imperial murderer, who is turning the fair fields of France, of Belgium, and of Poland into blood-stained battle plains?” From our heart goes up the cry, “How long, ch, Lord, how long?” It is impossible for us to answer that. But shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? God does not stop the war because man is a free agent. He has been given the desire to do evil as well as good, the power to inflict outrage and wrong. God could have made it impossible for man to sin, but then what credit would it have been to him to do right, when the will to do wrong was not there? Men who say they are against war will take the protection of our Army and Navy, and when war comes they style themselves “conscientious objectors” But surely those men are beginning at the wrong end. War comes out of the lust in our own minds. To end it we must first destroy the passions that cause it. The Christian faith has not ended war indeed, but surely it has done much to alleviate the sufferings and sorrows caused thereby. The Red Cross of our Saviour appeals to all men except perhaps to those who have made a mockery of their faith. We must confess that this war has as by a miracle, shown to us the true meaning of life. We are learning, as we never learnt before, that this world is not merely a place of happiness and pleasure. There is the overwhelming realization that an Omnipotent Power is behind it all. Two years ago the world was startled and amazed and in the horror of it all, men and women found Christ. They realized then that this world can never satisfy. From my own experience in the trenches, as well as from what we learn from other sources, we know that it is astounding how men at sea and on the battlefield, as well as at home, are turning to God. There is much in the soldier’s life that is built on the life of Christ. The kindness, the unselfishness, the generosity, the reckless disregard of danger to his own life are all doings which he has learnt from the Saviour. Continuing, his Grace referred to a picture produced since war broke out, and named “The Great Sacrifice” (By James Clarke 1914) There was, he said, a great lesson to be drawn from painting of a dead soldier on the battlefield. Only through pain and death can victory be won. Look at the wonderful transformation war has brought about. Many young men were leading utterly selfish lives. At home they were careless and self-absorbed, and in a great many cases not better than they ought to be. Then the call of duty came.”
It’s quite sad that 100 years later here we are again surrounded by nothing but war. Think Ukraine, Russia, Syria, IS, North Korea, US in the Gulf, UN nations etc etc. The endless fight between perceived rights and wrongs. Is it just an endless lust in the minds of men? Do we ever truly learn from previous generations? We are all just living history – what is the history that we are writing at the moment? Nothing different to what has gone on before.
Nothing but the date or the uniform changes – Death is all the same on the battlefield. PC2015