The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh Month, a dry morning for the Act of Remembrance around the village War Memorial and this year more people than for several years past stood for the two minutes silence. The Last Post and Reveille played by the church trumpeter who is a General Practitioner, a Good Physician who treats cares for and hopefully cures our aches and pains. The Wreath of Red Poppies is laid, in a dignified manner by Jim, our elder statesman of more than eighty years; but not every one gathered this morning is old, not all have come to remember lives laid down in the service of freedom in the First or even the Second World War, some are much younger and prayers are offered for today’s Servicemen and women serving in Afghanistan, and elsewhere … so when will peace come to the world?
The service is over and inside our little church there are more children than usual, calling to one another, having a little run up and down the aisles whilst Mums and Dads are having coffee, at the back of Church in the room the Vicar has christened ‘Starbucks’ – an older lady is heard to ask; “Why don’t their parents bring them up better” an even older lady replies, “I just give thanks that there are children here and that they are well enough, and are able to play and run about.”
Now keeping order is the Church Wardens job and keeping the peace between children and children, and children and senior citizens requires a certain amount of wisdom and tact, and between adults even more wisdom and tact, and courage…. war and battlefields are not the only places where ambassadors are called for, and so it is in the whole of everyday life.
In days when church attendance is at a low ebb, and when the Name of The Lord Jesus is more likely to be blasphemed than honoured, (and, how very few people actually know what the word blasphemy means!) and when God seems to have shrunk to almost a ‘Father Christmas’ image, how quaint to be talking of Ambassadors for Christ but nevertheless, The Lord is still calling us to be Ambassadors; an envoy crossing a battlefield is in need of the protection of the armour described to us in the Letter to the Ephesians 6: 10-20 and of the prayers of other believers.
In the spring of last year, I was hurt terribly by a deliberate act on the part of someone else, I forgave yes, but ignored the wound, and put the event behind me…. so I thought, but on the eleventh of the eleventh last year, i woke and cried, and could not stop, I found that I was literally crying out to The Lord for the healing of a wound, I had ignored. No one cries to Him or carries a wound suffered in His Service forever and some tears bring healing.
The Spirit showed me, myself on the ground, weaponless, vulnerable, in the middle of a great battlefield and great carnage; I was down, yes! Vulnerable, yes! But not alone. For two angels stood guard over me, avoiding me the protection of the great shields they held, shielding me completely until I could gather enough strength to regain my feet and pass safely on my way, crossing over a little brook, the bank spread with fallen leaves on the other side? Ah well, enough to say there were no fallen leaves on the other side.
Ephesians; 6: v18. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and request” — put on the armour of God, and pray, even for yourself that your own hurts and wounds may be healed and don’t be afraid. Remember the words of The Lord to Abraham in Genesis 15v1 “I am your shield, your very great reward.”
A Peace Ambassador needs Armour, remember this.