Unknown except to God
He keeps his eye upon you as you come and go and always guards you.
Psalm 121:8 (TLB)
The place was the Chapel of Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise near Arras in France. The date was the 7th November 1920. The time was late evening. Brigadier L. J. Wyatt, General Officer Commanding British Troops in Northern Europe entered the Chapel in which were four unmarked coffins and with eyes closed he walked slowly along the coffins and laid his hand on one of them. The casket was immediately taken and placed in a special oak coffin brought from England and under escort was taken to the port of Boulogne. From there it was placed aboard HMS Verdun and taken to Dover, then by train to Victoria Station. On the morning of November 11th the casket was carried on a gun carriage to the Cenotaph in Whitehall. A short service followed and the Last Post was played. The gun carriage was carried from there to Westminster Abbey accompanied by King George V and other members of the Royal Family.
After a short service, at the Western end of the Nave of the Abbey the coffin was interred in a grave filled with soil from the battlefields of France. The grave was capped with a black Belgian marble stone and is the only tombstone in the Abbey on which it is forbidden to walk. An inscription reads: ‘Beneath this stone rests the body of a British Warrior, Unknown by name or rank…’ It is over 100 years ago that this tomb was dedicated.
One of the glorious truths of the Christian faith is that no one is unknown to God. In fact, quite the reverse is true, in that we have been known to God from before birth and will be glorified in him forever. King David puts it very succinctly in Psalm 139 by showing us that there is nowhere we can go or anything we can do that hides us from God.
It is a wonderful thought that God cares for us every step of our Christian journey and through the sacrifice of his Son has secured a ‘place for us’ for eternity. Psalm 121:8 in the Living Bible says, ‘He keeps his eye upon you as you come and go and always guards you.’ How does it feel to know that God keeps watch over us and is attentive to every detail of our lives? Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:29-31 that not a single sparrow falls to the ground without God’s knowledge and how much more valuable are we to God than a sparrow?
As we remember the Unknown Soldier, we also rejoice in the fact that he will one day be in God’s presence forever, and that he had been known all along.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your loving care for us at all times. We have been, and always will be, your children and known by name. We remember those who have not known you, but rejoice that they have always been in your care. Amen.
Study by David Silcox
About the writer:
David Silcox is a minister in the Watford congregation of Grace Communion International where he serves on the Pastoral Council
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