I was privileged to be performing with London Gay Symphonic Winds this morning at St. Anne's church in Soho for their Remembrance Sunday service. The service was incredibly moving, and I was particularly struck by the presence of a number of cadets, and their involvement in the service.
The sermon by the rector, Fr. David Gilmore, was very thought-provoking. He talked at length about the need to respect and honour the memory of those who have died in the service of the British armed forces.
At the end of the day, I'm a pacifist. I can see little justification for war - genocide and crimes against humanity aside - and I will always pray for peace in times of conflict. I think violence against human beings is wrong, it defies the commandment to love one another as one loves oneself, and thus to love God. But then again, those who lay down their lives for the friends and neighbours they have never known must be honoured above all. The inherent contradiction in this has caused me no end of thought.
So, I wear a white poppy for peace. Peace is the ultimate goal, a true spiritual gift if we can attain it. Peace between people, between nations, the absence of violence against any person. Especially violence in the name of God. I believe anger can be justified, but for a human to perpetuate violence, one must be certain that it will be in the greater interest, that it will truly save lives.
But I wear a red poppy out of respect for those who have died in the name of their neighbours. They are honoured for their sacrifice, and their families are blessed for what they have given up.