The Lamp that lights up the world

 

On 1st July 1916 the Battle of the Somme began at 7:30am, the ‘zero’ hour, when the men went over the top.  The day was a disaster for the British.  As the British soldiers advanced, they were mown down by machine gun and rifle fire.  In total 19,240 soldiers lost their lives on the first day.  It was the bloodiest day in the history of the British army. The battle was to last 142 days and left a deep and tragic mark upon families all over the word including those living in Catsfield and Crowhurst.

 

The battle was, perhaps, necessary, to help the French, who were being bled dry at Verdun, but it remains highly debatable whether it achieved anything worthwhile.

 

During the recent Crowhurst tour of the Somme battlefield we stopped at the great monument to the fallen at Thiepval.  This great arch made out of lime stone and brick is the largest British memorial in the world with 72, 099 names of the fallen with no known grave inscribed on it.  There was something of a hushed atmosphere within the group as we walked reverently around it before laying a wreath.

 

Sometimes silence is often the best response we can give to any challenging event.  There will be a silent vigil in Westminster Abbey all night to prepare for the 1st, which seems a good way to honour the memory of the sacrifice. Silence is a mark of respect and can be used by people in all sorts of ways.

 

Being quiet may also help us to ask questions. One question which certainly must loom its head is where is God in all that suffering?  I have not been through a battle, so anything I write I do with due humility.

 

There are many things we do not understand about our world and no answer satisfies. However I do believe that God, in Jesus Christ, came as a lamp to light up the darkness of the world.  If I did not believe in Jesus Christ I could not believe in a good God.  The difficulties would be too immense.  When I doubt the goodness of God I look to the cross and think about a God who loved so much that He sacrificed everything.  I can’t answer the why question of all the suffering one hundred years ago and now, but the care shown for us all in the life of Jesus Christ means that I don’t doubt the goodness of God.

 

If God is good then I want the world to be brought into line with God’s will.  This means moulding hearts and minds to seek the grace of God so that we might learn to love Him and to love our neighbour.  If we manage that then war may really be at an end.

 

Posted By: valerie

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