Monday, August 04, 2014

100 years ago

it had been a long golden summer...the last of its kind
The upper classes were looking forward to the "Glorious Twelfth" and the start of the grouse shooting season.
And then the music stopped...the lights went out...the world changed.

"History repeats itself. It has to. Nobody listens"

That seems to be the saddest message we glean from the past century.
Though the Great War was fought as the "war to end wars", there has not been a day since when the world was at peace.
Last night the Cathedral was full for our special service of Commemoration.
Towards the end, red petals fell from the ceiling, swirling, dancing, catching the light like jewels.Though we knew they were cut from very ordinary paper, the work of several of the Cathedral community the previous week, they became beautiful in themselves as well as in their symbolism, as they fell to the ground...for long minutes while the girls choir sang.
It was unbearable to realise that, as I looked out at the crowded Cathedral, even the losses from our city were far greater than that congregation that filled the nave...I imagined a congregation of the dead there...Young men, the same ages as my sons...11,358 casualties from the Warwickshire Regiment alone...and still the poppies fell, covering the altar, resting on the cross of nails.

From my stall I watched them, and realised that they were falling before the eyes of the Christ on our great tapestry...the Christ who told us that no sparrow falls without our Father seeing and caring.
It must have hurt him so much.
It still hurts him so much.

And afterwards, when the music was over, when we had pledged ourselves to work for and live in peace, when the VIPs were ushered to their special seats to watch the moving tableau in the ruins, I came past the sanctuary - to find 2 beautiful children lovingly collecting the petals they could reach.
And I realised that this was how it always is.
Our children clear up the mess that we leave behind us...the mess of hatred, killing and despair.
And I realised that this, THIS was why we were remembering.
So that maybe those children will never have to clear up a worse mess than those paper petals on a marble floor.

1 comment:

Perpetua said...

The numbers and the grief and loss are almost unimaginable. You chose a telling way to commemorate them.