One hundred years ago today, the war to end all wars ended. It’s more commonly known by another name: World War I. Which means, of course, it wasn’t the war to end all wars. Not by far. That thought always chills me. But then again, here I am a hundred years later, composing poetry on a sleek computer, safe and comfortable and free. That thought fills me with wondering gratitude. So today, even though World War I only ushered in more wars instead of ending them, I want to live in humble thanks for the time I have been given and for the sacrifices of those a century ago who made possible all the blessings I enjoy.
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row…
That’s what I keep thinking about today. About the crosses, row on row. About the cross. Because there was a war that ended all wars. It was waged not in trenches but on a tree. It was caused not by defenestrating a duke but by turning away from truth.
In this war, it was the victor who surrendered with a white flag of grave clothes.
The winning of this war ushered in not twenty years of peace but an eternity.
And the hero, the architect of the ultimate armistice? He didn’t get a medal of honor. He got spit and scorn and spears. He was beaten and bruised and in the end his blood flowed down, red as poppies.
Because the cost of war is always blood. Just this time, it was the blood not of millions but of One.
But He was enough. He is always enough.
I feel a solemn thrill every time we honor our veterans, every time I remember the sacrifices of those lying in graves marked by crosses. How much more should I tremble and weep and dance in awe at the sacrifice on the cross.
Thank you to every American soldier, past and present. Thank you, Lord, for giving them to us. And thank you for You, most of all. Forgive us for so often forgetting.
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:54-57
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