November 2023 Writing


Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy 1883-1929
(Woodbine Willy)

Waste of Muscle, waste of Brain,
Waste of Patience, waste of Pain,
Waste of Manhood, waste of Health,
Waste of Beauty, waste of Wealth,
Waste of Blood, waste of Tears,
Waste of Youth’s most precious years,
Waste of ways the Saints have trod,
Waste of Glory, waste of God,

When we cannot run

Like a room full of smoke
War repels me.
Both suck the oxygen out of the air
And leave me wanting to Run. Make as much
Distance as I can between myself and the offense
Separation is a form of resistance, but it’s not as strong
As a demonstration, engagement in an opposite spirit,
Private Godfrey Buxton (from Royal Medical Corps) once wrote
‘If death was abroad, if wrong was to be resisted a Christian should be right in amongst it.’
Woodbine Willy rigorously demonstrated the same.
So as I wonder how to pray for the current crises, I find my heart with those trapped in situations they cannot escape, but have to choose how to respond to.
“Please meet them Lord God, please send help from your sanctuary, please supply them with what they cannot provide for themselves
Be their light in the darkness.”

© Chris Graham
Kingdom Arts 14th November 2023

What is peace Lord?

Why do we find it so difficult to live in peace with one another?
You ask us to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ and yet we fail to honour your commandment.

We look at our world today Lord and we still cannot see peace.
Where is the peace, Lord, for the man in the trench waiting to go over the top? Where is the peace, Lord, for the injured soldier waiting for help?
You alone, Lord, protect and comfort us. You alone, Lord, because they are beside us in our conflicts.

Soldiers fight, Lord, because they are ordered to. They protect us from our enemies who want to rule the world. You alone, Lord, send others to help the wounded brave souls who risk life and limb to provide the care they need.

For those who have died, Lord, may they rest in peace. Help us, Lord, to rebuild your world so that all may live in peace and harmony.

We see the battlefield destroyed by bombs and yet, Lord, we see the beauty of the poppy showing us that life will continue. We see your rainbow in the sky, your promise that you will always be with us through the storms of life.

Your love, Lord, is unconditional and we are to love our neighbours unconditionally. Help us, Lord, to speak of your love for others, help them to see that we can live in peace with each other and be the good neighbour you want us to be.

Help us, Lord, to be your beacons of light in our dark world. Help us, Lord, to forgive others and to repent our own selfishness and sins. Help us, Lord, to lead others into the light of your love so that their doubt will turn to faith in you. May your love bring them and us the peace you desire.

May we live in harmony with rejoicing that comes from knowing you. May we all know the same peace you left your disciples. ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid’.

Thank you, Lord, that we have the comfort of your word to help us through the darkest times. Help us to be the good neighbour you ask us to be.

You, Lord, give us life. Help us all to live in peace, freedom, love, and faith.

© Pam Butler
Kingdom Arts 14th November 2023

Our Battlefields

Our Battlefields become a funeral pyre
of sacrificial action so dire
Lost forever in mind and mire
Mud and mire.
Body part committed to the ground
Guts, groin and breast and brain
Earth to earth forever reign.
Each man of God united friend afar
In their low burrow
When ashes bought much sorrow

Collect our souls to save…
From this our earthly grave
Dear Lord, dear Lord, who we praise

© John Butler
Kingdom Arts 14th November 2023

Thoughts from a Soldier

Does one have to be cruel to be kind?
Do we first have to be a captive before we can know what true freedom is?
I close my eyes and smell the distinct, putrid, acid smell that lingers in the air, after the bombs dropped, and exploded.
The craters where once homes stood and lives lived…. And the children’s chatter and laughter now, silenced for ever.
Aware my boots hurt, shoulders ache and fingers locked tight on the trigger!
My senses cry out,
Who is the Ally? Who is the Enemy? Is it within?
This is WAR!
Is it mine? Is it yours? Who fails? Who succeeds?
What is the price and how is it paid?
In lives of those who stayed.
How will despair turn into Hope, terror into Calm?
A screeching whizzed past me, shattering my thoughts.
Death and life, are not mine to take.
I am but an instrument in someone’s hands, missiles, bombs explode.
Breathing out, I fall to my knees:
“Forgive my trespasses and I forgive those who trespass against me and my country.
When I am weak be my strength.”
I am not a brave soldier.
The lights went out!

© Shefali Hollis

Kingdom Arts
14th November 2023