Greater Love has no-one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends` [John 15:13] What is so special about the Poppy on Remembrance Sunday? Why not use a buttercup or daisy? Poppies grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth and so in 1914 when the fields of Northern France and Belgium, especially in Flanders Fields, were being ripped open as WW1 raged on, poppies were growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers.

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 sacrifice made by McCrae`s comrades who died in battle but it 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 red of the poppy reminded people of the bloodshed resulting in the poppy becoming a symbol of sacrifice.

Each time I look at a poppy, I am reminded of what others did `on my behalf`. And walking around war cemeteries in Belgium, France and Holland over the past few years makes me grateful that I am alive.

As Christians, we also have a symbol of sacrifice: The CROSS and every time I look at it, I am reminded of the amount of blood that was shed by my Saviour so I can be free from sin and bondage today. Furthermore, I can`t help but get emotional about what my Lord did `on my behalf` over 2000 years ago!  I am so grateful that I am alive but this time `alive in Jesus`. Thank you soldiers for your sacrifice. Thank you Jesus for the ultimate sacrifice.  

…Blessings Pastor Steve

REFLECTION When you think about what others have done for you especially in war, how can that motivate you to do more for others?
MEDITATION A poppy and the Cross are symbols of sacrifice. How can they inspire you to sacrifice more for your Lord? What stops you giving God `more of yourself`?
ACTION Every soldier that we honour today had to `battle on` in the devastation of war, regardless of how they felt. Where do you need to `battle on` in your faith?