Today is Remembrance Day, also called Veterans Day or Armistice Day in other countries.
We remember and give thanks for those who lost their lives in the miseries of war.
In so doing we wear poppies. We read In Flanders Fields. We thank veterans. We pray for peace. We consider the value of our freedoms. We attend Remembrance Sunday services or memorials at cenotaphs.
We also sing.
One of the well-known and frequently sung songs at this time of year is “Abide with me,” written by Henry Francis Lyte. The tune Eventide is by William Henry Monk.
“Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens, Lord, with me abide:
when other helpers fail and comforts flee,
help of the helpless, oh abide with me.”
In the church I pastor we sing it every Remembrance Sunday. This year was no exception. I like it not only because of the words but because it was frequently sung by soldiers in the trenches during World War One.
Think of that for a moment. Soldiers who were far away from home, often young and inexperienced, encountering the horrors of battle and loss and sacrifice and pain, would sing a song which was a prayer, a comfort, and a source of hope.
If words were visible we would be able to see them rising slowly and sweetly over the blood-soaked trenches of those who have gone before and given so much.
These lyrics echo Jesus’ words in John 15:4: “Abide in me as I abide in you.”
Brothers and sisters, abide with God. Nothing is more important. Draw nearer to the one who is unintimidated and unafraid, and who leads his people forward come what may.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee, the helper of the helpless abides with thee.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.