I recently read an article about a British group that produce white poppies that they insist should be worn in lieu of red poppies. They suggest their white poppy embodies a greater morality as it represents remembrance of all victims of war, a commitment to peace, and a challenge to attempts to glamorize or celebrate war. Their objective seems legitimate as no one really wants war but why should their agenda trample on the memories of those who stood up to evil. Why do they think their freedom to express their belief is more important than those who fought for that freedom? November 11this not about romanticizing or encouraging carnage. It is about recognizing that sacrifice is necessary in a world ruled by the evil one who seeks nothing more than to see conflict, destruction, and suffering. When we left the garden, the possibility of world peace was left behind, and we entered a world where we must choose what is worth dying for.
The evening before Jesus died, He turned an everyday family activity into one of remembrance. He used bread and wine to symbolically speak about His upcoming sacrifice that we now know was necessary to free us from Satan’s grip. Jesus wasn’t advocating that we glorify crucifixion, but He wanted us to remember that sacrifice was necessary for freedom. Jesus’ sacrifice was ugly, brutal and violent. However, with the breaking of the bread and the spilling of the wine, Jesus wanted us to remember that sacrifice is often painful and sometimes necessary to experience good. War is ugly, brutal and violent and we are not called to venerate any of those realities. We remember those who willingly stood before the enemies of this world so that we can gather on Sunday morning and worship the one who made the ultimate sacrifice; a sacrifice that impacts our time on this earth as well as our time in eternity.
All countries who have engaged in war have regrets regardless of whether they were aggressors or not. There is a cost to waging war that goes deeper than financial implications. Thankfully there are many who will not allow evil to rule this world and willingly sacrifice to prevent it from happening. This month we remember not because we want to glamourize war, but because we know many have died or suffered in pursuit of our freedom, and we are thankful they stood for us.