On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh month, of the eleventh day of 1918, the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front took effect, effectively ending World War One. Armistice day was a cause for great joy. The end of any armed conflict and the avoidance of future conflict continues to be a cause of great Joy. As our troops slowly come home from Afghanistan and Lybia, we are thankful and celebrate with them. But we also remember what they have accomplished, and we remember those who will not be coming home.
The peace of 1918 did not last. As another Great War came and went, followed by significant and costly conflict from Korea to Afghanistan, Canadians and many others around the world have declared November 11th Remembrance Day. We remember, on this day each year, the sacrifice of so many, who gave up peace to take up war, who lost their lives, their liberties and their own pursuit of happiness, so that we might enjoy ours.
Why must their be war? It is one of the great facts of life that separations and conflicts characterize human society. This is one of the great impacts of the Fall of the human race from harmony with God into sin and rebellion: “God made humankind upright, but they have sought many evil schemes” (Ecclesiastes 7:29).
Until all people turn their hearts back to their creator, and we are restored to His perfect peace, we will have to deal with the “evil schemes” of many people and nations. This will result in wars and rumours of wars. God is good, however, and his mercy is poured out on us, in what theologians call “common grace”. He makes his rain to fall on the just and unjust alike.
One of the great graces of God, is that he has given us government, an agency which is “instituted by God” (Romans 13:1). Its purpose is twofold, (1) first, to give “approval” to good behaviour (Romans 13:3) and (2) second, to carry out “God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4). The agents and ministers of government who commend good and punish evil are “ministers of God” (Romans 13:6).
We thank God, for the freedoms and liberties we enjoy. We thank God for peace, and for good government. We also thank those who faithfully defend those freedoms, and our governments from those who wish to exercise their “evil schemes”.
Until the war drums beat no longer and the battle flags are furled, we will remember and be thankful for the sacrifice of Military, Paramilitary and RCMP members who have put their lives at risk, and who have sacrificed their lives, so that we may live. God grant his peace to each member of our armed forces, and may the prince of peace soon return and end war for all time.