Monday, February 18, 2008

God-speed for a soldier

Once in a while, there comes a moment when everything seems fitting, timeless - and almost unbearably moving. We had one of these special moments in church today, when a family from the congregation were preparing to see their eldest son off to service in Afghanistan. As the entire family, along with the many friends from the area who had come to join in the prayers for this family, gathered around Kimberly for the Intercessions, I thought of the thousands of parents who through the centuries have seen their sons off to war, of how these very young men seem so grown up and serious, of the fifty years of CND and the very old-fashioned conflicts our soldiers are involved in, of our Scottish government wanting to get rid of Trident, of how many of my former pupils serve in the armed forces.

And we all thought about the Old Testament reading for today, of God telling Abraham to go into another land where God would make him and his people prosper - a land where there were already people living, who would curse these intruders and as a result be themselves cursed by God. A crucial moment, we were reminded, the reverberations of which are still felt in the world.

Somehow, today, all this came together in a great blast of relevance. And church felt like the right place to be.


  1. What a wonderful post, Christine! Here in the US, so many people are so opposed to war, entirely, that they just balk and complain. We all hate war. As you mention, though, God had his people involved in many, many conflicts throughout the Old Testament. Many people now believe that since Jesus came, there is no need for war. And yet, He Himself said that he had come that families would be torn apart....

    God bless this young man and his family! May God be with him!

    And yes, I agree that church was probably the best place to be...I am of the mind that it is especially sad that churches sit empty so much of the time....

  2. It's the old business of actually knowing someone personally, isn't it. I spent years demonstrating against nuclear weapons and war - the last time only a year ago - but it's not the fault of the PBI, it's the politicians and the arms traders and... Enough. I simply found it very difficult not to be involved.
    Strangely, this young man felt on a brief R&R in the States that he and his mates were more welcome in the pubs than in this country.