Today – Remembrance Day – is a sobering remembrance of the chronic problem at the core of the human condition. The desire to hammer out on earth a Garden of Eden without the hassle of God; to have peace through sheer human will and effort, to fulfill the dream of democracy by attending to its theory and structure while ignoring the condition of the human heart.
Most wars would be severely curtailed if those who declared them were first in line to fight and lead the charge they are so quick to have other people die for. Look at Gaddaffi in a water-pipe, a coward to the end; or Mugabe, or…. we could probably name hundreds….. Human beings are not to be trusted with too much power. We change, it infiltrates into our head and our heart and we metamorphose into the demons that leach into our souls with the addiction that power releases if unfettered and uncontrolled. We love the concept and possibility of being god-like but lack the character to carry the position with responsibility and selflessness.
Multitudes of men, women, and children have died in this deadly game of ‘who will be God today?’ It is good that we pause and remember the cost, the sacrifice, the loss, the pain, the destruction…. and the brutal reality that not much changes despite it all.
Remembrance Day is incomplete without remembering that God entered into the war zone to take out the main artillery that energizes war…. to overcome the ‘mother of all enemies’ and to set us free to live in peace, democracy, and harmony. The terms are simply to enter into the victory Jesus won through his remarkable resurrection and ask him to end the war within me, release peace into my heart, heal the anger and violence that arises in me, conquer the demons within that overpower me, and liberate my life and soul so that I can live free – now. If I cannot find freedom how can I liberate anyone else for God’s sake!
Imagine the outcry if we distributed chocolates on Remembrance Day and half-naked girls clad in poppies paraded through the streets, and we gave each other gifts after a wild night of partying and very few turned up at the Cenotaph or walked in the real Veteran’s Parade? Imagine if we did to Remembrance Day what we have done to Christmas and Easter? Turn it into a crass commercial opportunity to feed our cravings and self indulgence and gut all the meaning from it so we can stuff the vacuum with feel-good candy and plastic toys? Imagine the outcry, the anger, the sense of betrayal…. and rightly so.
The fact that we prefer to sanctify Remembrance Day above Easter and Christmas is the clearest most eloquent expression we could give articulating who it is exactly we deify, worship, honor, and adore – ourselves.
It is totally appropriate to take the time to celebrate, remember and honor those who have given their lives in wars of our making….. but not at the price of ignoring the One who laid down His Life for the sin and rebellion in our hearts. He won the war of all wars – the big battle we can never win…. Remember, lest we forget….
Walk slowly to His Cross, kneel down and give thanks… Love so amazing….. my chains are gone, I’ve been set free! Give thanks for others who laid down their lives…..
Then stand up…. enlist as a follower of Jesus…. and be the difference you long to see in others….