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Remembering Hope

November 11 is a day of remembrance. It has different names in different places in the world – Armistice Day, Veterans Day, Remembrance Day. It is an opportunity to pause and give thanks for the sacrifice of those who have laid down their lives for the sake of others. For me it is also a reminder to give thanks for Jesus who gave his life for me, so that I might have the fullness of life in Him and share that with others.

Perhaps that is why I love the symbolism of the poppy that is associated with Remembrance Day. It was a sign of hope in the midst of hopelessness. During World War I much of the fighting took place in Western Europe. The countryside was blasted, bombed and fought over repeatedly. Previously beautiful landscapes turned to mud, bleak and barren scenes where little or nothing could grow. There was a notable and striking exception to the bleakness – the bright red Flanders poppies. These resilient flowers flourished in the middle of so much chaos and destruction, growing in the thousands upon thousands. Shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, France, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was moved by the sight of these poppies and that inspiration led him to write the now famous poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’.

That poem inspired many people, including Earl Haig founder of the Royal British Legion, (a UK charity that supports veterans and their families), to adopt the poppy as a symbol of remembrance. Read more here

They don’t have poppies to wear in Kentucky but I do have a red paper poppy on my kitchen windowsill in Wilmore. I brought it back from the UK and I keep right before my eyes every day as a symbol of remembrance and hope. It is reminds me of The One who laid down his life for me. It reminds me that I am a beloved child of God, loved by many so precious people in my life (who remind me of that on 11 November because it is also my birthday!) And it reminds me that, no matter how bleak things may seem in our world today, Jesus IS The Hope of this world and He invites me, and you, to share His love and hope with everyone we meet wherever we are. 

Jesus, we thank you that you laid down your life for us so that we might have life forever in you. Fill us with your Spirit today so that we will be bold to share your love with those around us who need to receive your hope in the midst of their hopelessness. Amen. 


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae
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