Flanders Field is a U.S. military cemetery in Belgium. Buried there are 368 members of the armed forces who died in World War I. Canadian poet John McCrae wrote a famous poem about it called “In Flanders Fields.”
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.
These patriotic lines, appropriate enough for a Memorial Day weekend, have struck a higher chord in Christian hearts. For the Bible tells us to “fight the good fight,” to “take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God,” to “endure hardship” as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, to “be strong in the Lord,” and to “put on the full armor of God.” Many of our hymns have a militant ring to them: “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” and “Stand Up, Stand Up, for Jesus!”
We recognize that the Christian faith is a battle to be fought by each new generation. We “pass the torch” of God’s Word to our children, and they to theirs.
On this Memorial Day weekend, as young people graduate, head into the work force, off to college, or into the military, there is generally a lot of talk about passing the torch to the next generation.
As Christians we know that the most important torch to pass is the gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ. We need and want our sons and daughters to “take up our quarrel with the foe.” It is a good quarrel. It is a noble fight. There is a raging conflict between God’s truth and man’s error. In a world where God’s children sing their songs to Christ like a canary in the wilderness, let us show the next generation how to take up our quarrel with the foe, how to take the torch and hold it high. Let us not break faith with the prophets, apostles and fathers of the faith who have gone before. “To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high!”