“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
John 15:13 (NKJV)
On the 29th of December 2013, soil from 70 WW1 battlefields in Belgium—one bag from each—was brought to the UK. The news media called it “sacred soil” as they reported the solemn way that this earth was transported up the River Thames aboard a Belgian warship on its way to London, via Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Horse Guards Parade, The Mall and Buckingham Palace. It will be incorporated in a memorial garden to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War on 11/11/2014. The poem “In Flanders Fields” written by John McCrae will be inscribed on the memorial.
Sacred soil is mentioned several times in the pages of the Bible but there it’s called “Holy ground”—a place where humans were in the very presence of the Almighty God. That’s an awesome thought, isn’t it?
After he had fled from the royal palace of Egypt, Moses spent 40 years looking after sheep belonging to his father-in-law, Jethro, a priest of Midian. One day he saw a strange sight as he led his flock to pasture—a bush that was on fire but didn’t burn up. So he went to investigate, saying to himself, “’What’s going on here? I can’t believe this! Amazing! Why doesn’t the bush burn up?’ God saw that he had stopped to look, and called to him from out of the bush: ’Moses! Moses!’ He said, ‘Don’t come any closer. Remove your sandals from your feet. You’re standing on holy ground.’ …Moses hid his face, afraid to look…”! (Exodus 3:1-6 The Message). The other individual to experience Holy Ground was Joshua, as he led Israel across the Jordon River into the Promised Land after the death of Moses, and was about to take the city of Jericho. As he drew near, he saw a man standing right in front of him holding a drawn sword. Joshua asked him; “’Whose side are you on—ours or our enemies?’ He said, ‘Neither. I’m the commander of God’s army.’” Joshua fell on his face and asked for orders, thereby handing the armies of Israel over to God, and he was commanded, “’Take your sandals off your feet. The place you are standing is holy,’ Joshua did it.” (Joshua 5:13-15 Message).
The soil transferred from the bloody battlefields of Belgium is indeed, I believe, “Sacred soil,” it’s soaked in the blood of millions who gave their lives that we might be free, these young men were taken away violently and callously, and we do need to remember their sacrifice, the laying down of their lives for us, and approach that soil with reverence!
Father of all, sacrifice is indeed a sacred thing and something you treasure. Help us to be those who love sacrificially every day.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
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