A message from the Rev’d Diana Netherway, Parish Deacon

Posted by Admin on 21 October 2013, 9:53 pm

Remembrance Day is soon upon us, and already the poppy is being worn on jackets and displayed on cars. But why the poppy? Why not any other red flower? The poppy has its origin in the 19th century when the destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars turned the bare land into fields of red poppies growing around the bodies of fallen soldiers. Then again in 1914 when the fields of Northern France and Flanders were ravaged as the First World War raged through the heart of Europe. After the war the battlefields were left to rest and before long the wild flowers grew, including many poppies. Their bright red colour reminded people of bloodshed and the sacrifice by millions of brave soldiers of their lives. So the poppy came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice and lasting memorial to all those who died in WW1 and all later wars and conflicts.
Each part of the poppy has a meaning to it. The black centre reminds us that wars often start with human greed and injustice.The red petals help us to remember the suffering and blood shed in war. The leaves remind us how fragile life is – that it can be blown away as easily as leaves fall from the trees and die in Autumn. The stem helps us to remember that war is not just about great armies and powerful weapons. It is about ordinary folk who gave their lives fighting to bring peace and freedom. So the poppy parts mostly remind us of something sad. However, God`s love is far more powerful than any evil in the world. Therefore we can also see the petals as the blood of Christ shed on the cross, giving us freedom and the gift of Eternal Life. The leaf, a symbol in the book of Revelation where we are told, `God will heal all wounds`. The poppy in full bloom tells us that however difficult things may be and however tragic the war, hope can bloom again when we allow God`s love to transform the dark moments in our lives where conflicts begin.
So let’s wear our poppies with these things in mind and with pride for those who paid with their lives to give us the freedom and peace we enjoy. Let us also pray constantly for the brave men and women of the armed forces who continue to fight for justice and peace throughout the world.
Diana Netherway


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