7th November 2018

The Turned Soil of the Poppy 

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
1 Timothy 1:1-2 (ESV)

Recently, I was watching a programme on television commemorating the centenary of The Great War. An expert was looking at a pressed poppy that had been taken from the actual battlefield of the Somme in northern France in 1916 by a young soldier who was ultimately killed. The expert then made the most moving statement, he said ‘poppies grow in turned soil and there could be no more earth turned than that of the Somme.’

There is a cruel irony attached to the meaning of the word ‘Somme’ – it is Celtic in origin and means ‘tranquillity.’ Nothing could have been further from the truth—the first day of the Battle of the Somme was the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army and one of the most infamous days of World War One. On 1 July 1916, the British forces suffered 57,470 casualties, including 19,240 fatalities. The British gained three square miles of territory. Historians still debate the military strategy and outcome of the battle.

After the First World War, the poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance. The expert’s words rang in my ears ‘poppies grow in turned soil’ – the blood-soaked soil of the Somme symbolises the futility of war. The centenary of the ‘Great War’ increases the yearning in Christians for peace as we are reminded of Christ, the Prince of Peace and His promise of an end to war forever. Christ did not ‘turn soil,’ He had a huge stone rolled away and rose from the dead. In doing so he gave the hope of salvation and eternal life to mankind. As Christ warned, there would be wars and rumours of war, but he also gave his children a promise in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Peace begins with us: read Romans 12:18, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” The turned soil of the Somme is a sober warning of living otherwise. Let us focus on the removed rolled stone – opening for all of us to peace forevermore.

Loving and merciful great God, thank you for our Saviour, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace who will save us from ourselves.

Study by Irene Wilson


About the Author:
Irene Wilson is a Deaconess in the Watford Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, part of Grace Communion International, where she also serves on the Pastoral Council.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Watford, Herts.
WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george.sueann.henderson49@gmail.com

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