Monday, March 16, 2009

In Flanders Fields

This is one of my all time favorite poems. Coming from WWI; Lieutenant Col. Mcrae wrote this amidst the horror of no mans land (the stretch of death between the trenches of opposing sides).

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


I thought of this today because yesterday at church we had a navy chaplain as our guest pastor and he spoke of blurring lines between christian and muslim. More broadly, we were celebrating and discussing worship, and how when we live lives of worship rather than confine it to an hour-long "service" or experience 1X each week, we begin to live compassion and love our "supposed" enemy. And as the poem so eloquently puts it, God is hovering some place above us all, very near - no battle lines, not in military fatigues, not in a cloud of napalm. God is as near as the lark even amidst the horrors of war.


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