Pastor's Pen November 2013.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the dead: Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.


 Take up our quarrel with the foe

To you, from failing hands, we throw

The torch: be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

This memorable poem written by Guelph’s own, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) will be recited during Remembrance Day Services this November 11th. The Arlington National Cemetery website notes that, “A young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, had been killed by a shell burst on 2 May 1915. Lieutenant Helmer was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.” Through Helmer’s death, John McCrae, sitting on the back of an ambulance, was inspired to write down his thoughts regarding the War. “In Flanders Fields” is a powerful expression of life and death.

When it comes to Remembrance Day, my childhood memories recall going with my family to the Services at the Cenotaph in Ottawa. Now, as I watch the Service from Ottawa, it is very visible to see how many Veterans have died since then. The words, “We shall remember them” ring in my ears, heart and mind as they are spoken at the end of the Service. For me, the poppy is a profound symbol of this poem and what Remembrance Day means.

Before we get to Remembrance Day on November 11th, there is, in the Church calendar year, another day that is special. We call it All Saints Day. On the first Sunday in November during our service we remember the saints who have died in the previous year, by lighting a candle during the Prayers of Intercession as their names are read. We will have a moment of silence as we recall the faith they have shared with us during their lifetime. This year we will pray for six of our members who have died since last All Saints Sunday . They are: Willard Miller, John Bates, Geza Argay, Dieter Geisler, Ralf Letz, and Philip Landy.

 As the Last Post is associated with on November 11th, the hymn, “For All the Saints” (EvLW # 422) is associated with All Saints Sunday. The first verse is:


For all the saints, who from their labors rest,

who thee by faith before the world confessed,

thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.

Alleluia, Alleluia!


This powerful hymn expresses the depth and courage of the all the Saints. When we sing it this year may we feel the words deep in our hearts as we remember them. My prayer for all is that we take the time this month and always to acknowledge and remember the saints and military personnel who shared their faith and gave their lives for us. May we also take time to pray for all the saints and the veterans and live each day as the people of God.

 We shall remember them!

 Pastor Jeff