Advice from a veteran

Today is Remembrance Day. In some countries it’s called Veterans Day or Memorial Day or Armistice Day.

It’s a day to honour those who fought and died in the horrors of war. It’s a day to be thankful for those who served their country. And it’s a day to pray.

Over the years I’ve had the good fortune of talking with many veterans. One of those conversations was after a worship service with a man who had fought in World War Two.

He knew that at the time I was training to be a pastor and gave me some humble advice about what to focus on when preaching and talking to people around November 11th.

He said it was important to remember and give thanks, yes. But to keep it focused on what it was all about, on what so many died for:

Peace.

The reason he said this was because it can be easy to glorify war. But we shouldn’t. That trend troubled him. His sentiment made me think of a conversation I once had with my Grandpa, Milton. He said that the people who sat around and glorified battle were the ones who weren’t very close to it!

Those in the fray knew that it was difficult, and certainly not something to glorify.

In a prophecy about the birth of Christ, Isaiah 9:6 (NLT) says: “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

What does it mean to Jesus’ followers that he is called the Prince of Peace? Not only is it a title, but it’s a summons to pursue the peace of the One who rescues us—not only a deep inner peace, although it is that too, but a broad promise of peace to the nations of the world he loves.

So today, we will remember them. And as we do so, let’s look back and give thanks for those who fought and died in the horrors of war. But let’s also look forward to the promise of peace for our children and our children’s children, so that the world God loves will one day be at rest.

By Matthew Ruttan

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