As I reflect on this Remembrance Day, I am thankful once again for those who were willing to go to war to protect justice for all people. Some gave their lives, some were forever disabled, and all were changed forever by the experience.
No good person ever wants war, but the victims and potential victims of ethnic cleansing, brutal dictatorships and government-led evil in all its forms are glad that there are those willing to sacrifice for their benefit and that of their children.
We remember, not to glorify war, but lest we forget the evils we have previously fought so hard to eradicate.
The ultimate goal of war is not to win
The memorial at Vimy Ridge reminds me of a lesson that all leaders need to remember. The immediate goal of all those who fought was to win, but the ultimate goal for us was peace. The ultimate goal is always what motivates us, and if we lose sight of it then we would make war an end in itself. Christian leaders, this applies to your ministries as well. Always keep in mind the wonderful world of peace and wholeness that God wants us to have and keep that as your ministry’s ultimate goal.
Remembering war promotes peace
For those who think remembering the men and women who have fallen in battle is militaristic, a quick tour of the Vimy Ridge memorial, the largest memorial on any European battlefield by far, shows not even a hint of either militarism or triumphalism. The entire memorial preaches peace and the human cost of war.
In this grouping of statues, one man kneels and breaks his sword while two others look forward to a better time.
Here is the same grouping, but from a different angle you can see that the cannon in the wall is draped in olive leaves – a symbol of peace.
The six highest statues represent Sympathy, Gallantry, Truth, Knowledge, Justice and Peace. Justice is the second highest, while the highest point of all is the torch held high by Peace.
The finest example of the message of sacrifice (there are quite a few statues showing the cost of war) is the woman representing Canada, mourning the loss of her fallen sons whose grave lies below.
I’ve never had the call to arms thrust upon me, and for that I am grateful. But for those who have responded to the call that came in their lifetimes, I am also grateful.
May we all rest in peace here on Earth in this life, even as we anticipate the perfect peace to be ushered in by the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.