This year outside the church door we have had a lovely display of poppies which sprung up between the paving and the stones. The poppy is the symbol chosen for remembrance. The poppy grew across the war-torn fields of Flanders, all those years ago.
Red as the blood shed there, a symbol of lives lost and lives wasted.
But the poppy is also a symbol of hope. Poppies grow so easily and are very persistent. In Flanders they spread over the scars of war and before long could be seen a great harvest of living symbols of hope. The poppy links us with them ; calls us to persist, calls us to be vigilant ; calls us to awareness. We can only makes sense of the sacrifices of so many, in so many places and in so many times, by carrying on the struggle against evil, whatever shape it takes. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” it is also the price of faith.
We have another symbol – the Cross. Just as the poppy symbolises blood shed in war so the cross symbolises the blood of Christ himself, shed in the war against evil in all its forms. His body was broken to show how God shares with us our pain and loss : his blood poured out that we might see in that sacrifice the way to conquer.
The Cross which stands in human eyes as an object of pain and disgrace, of shame and disgust, stands in God’s eyes as a powerful sign of hope. For after the crucifixion came resurrection- the triumph over sin and death, the victory over evil.
Just as the Poppy, spreading living beauty, in the midst of destruction and death, speaks to us of perseverance and struggle and hope, so the Cross teaches us that through all bitterness – even the bitterness of death and through all desolation, cruelty, disappointments and sin, so hope and love will spring up and spread with the love and grace of God.
With every Blessing