Looking Back : Looking Forward06/11/20
At 11am on 11th day of the 11th month, the nation will pause for 2 minutes and reflect with thanks upon the men and women who bravely paid with their lives for our freedom. Nobody wins in war. The devastation is huge, to family life, economy, health… and the rebuilding takes time, effort and endurance.
Coventry Cathedral was bombed in 1940 during World War 2 and behind the altar of the ruined building, the words, ‘Father forgive’ remained inscribed on the wall. Those words are now prayed in the new cathedral every single day. Why? Because, peace and reconciliation can only happen when people are willing to forgive their enemies and let go of bitterness.
Maybe in the current pandemic, some of us feel like wounded soldiers on the battlefields of life. We cannot always change our circumstances, but we can change our attitudes to it. If you are lacking peace in your life, maybe it’s time for a heart check. Is there unforgiveness, bitterness, regret or fear? Don’t let it muddy your heart like the devastated battlefields. Just as those men and women gave their lives for our futures, so Jesus gave His life for our eternal future, crying out as he died, “Father, forgive them…” (Luke 23:34, The Bible)
What seemed like the end paved the way for a new beginning, and as the sun shone on the battlefields, poppies sprang forth, bursting with new life and seed for the future. In the same way, God wants us to bask in His light, looking to the future with hope. As we do so, let’s cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Even in the current ‘battles’ we face, where many of us lack peace and are filled with uncertainty, let us look to Jesus and thank Him for the good that is springing forth, as people cook meals for strangers, give to those in need, care for neighbours and sow seeds of love and hope for a brighter future.
Painting these poppies I was reminded of how fragile they (and we) are, and yet despite their fragility they bring colour and hope to all who see them. We look back at those who have gone before us, and give thanks for their lives. We look to Jesus, the Prince of Peace who gave his own life for us, and we look forward with hope, that we too might be bringers of peace, love and life to all around us.