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                                                       THE POPPY AND THE CROSS




`Greater Love has no-one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends` [John 15:13]


So what`s so special about `the Poppy` on Remembrance Sunday? Why not use a pansy or a daisy? Well, Poppies grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. So, in 1914 when the fields of Northern France and Belgium especially in Flanders, were being ripped open as the First World War raged on, poppies were growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers. And so, the Poppy has become a lasting symbol to `the fallen` which was highlighted by John McCrae in his poem `In Flanders Fields`.


The Poppy came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice made by McCrae`s comrades who died in WW1, but has also become a lasting memorial to all those soldiers who have died in other conflicts since. When fighting ceased in 1918, the mud of the battlefields was allowed to rest and nature began to be restored, and before long wild flowers started growing in those fields, including the Poppy. The colour red of the poppy reminded people of the bloodshed and the sacrifice made by millions. And so, the Poppy became the symbol of sacrifice.


Each time I look at a Poppy, I can`t help but get emotional about what others did `on my behalf`. For me the Poppy represents `love` and walking around war cemeteries in Flanders, Normandy and Arnhem over the past few years only serves as a reminder of the love that people showed in their sacrifice for others, which makes me so grateful that` I am alive` today. 


As Christians, we also have a symbol of sacrifice: The Cross. Every time I look at the Cross, I am reminded of the amount of blood that was shed by my Saviour. I can`t help but get emotional about what my Lord did `on my behalf` 2000 years ago!  I am so grateful that I am alive but this time `alive in Jesus`. The Cross, and like the Poppy, also represents love, Christ`s love, which also serves as a reminder of the love that Jesus showed in His sacrifice for others, and which makes me so grateful that I am `spiritually alive in Jesus` today.


Moreover, and as the world today honours all those who have lost their lives or served in wars or conflicts over the years and others who are still fighting in wars today, let’s make sure we never forget them and what they did. But also on this poignant day let`s make sure we never forget our Saviour too and especially what He did on THE CROSS for mankind. Thank you soldiers for your sacrifice. Thank you, Jesus, for the ultimate sacrifice. Amen.



Blessings

Pastor Steve