From War to Hope
As I write this, we are in the throes of cutting out red paper poppies and bringing them together forming one large installation to commemorate and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Every day more poppies arrive at church and sit waiting to be joined together, it feels a little chaotic and slightly overwhelming. Why did I think 7000 would be a good idea?
In the grand scheme of things pulling 7000 paper poppies together for a community art project is nothing compared to those that were left when the war ended with the feelings of grief, anger and chaos. It must have been very disturbing, if not overwhelming.
100 years on from the armistice, even though it did not end the notion of war, the world is a different place. Nations who were once enemies now sit down together peacefully, landscapes that were destroyed by firepower have regrown and flourish with beauty, and discrimination because of identity is widely condemned. Out of mass destruction has come hope.
This hope for a better place is what Isaiah foretells in Isaiah 11:
The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)
Isaiah tells of a vision where enemies by natural order sit together in peace. Whilst today’s world is far from perfect, to the people of 1918, the world probably looks much better. In 1918 there were brave men and women who stood up to say, “let’s build a better world where our sons and daughters won’t live in fear”. And then they did!
Whilst we have come a long way, Isaiah’s vision is still not fulfilled, and our world still has many problems. Even in 2018, we need to continue to work together for what is right, we must continue to tell a better story marked by hope, and we are called to lead the way in being people of forgiveness and truth and reconciliation, even in the hardest of places following the one who made the perfect sacrifice.