I watched the Channel 4 documentary about the lives of the soldiers who died in the second battle of Fromelle in 1916, and who were buried with full miltary honours in a new war cemetery yesterday. Finding the Lost Battalions was very moving from the beginning, but the part I found most moving was discovery of pages of the Bible in the mass grave. Their owner had underlined many parts, so that he could return to them again and again. The underlined verse that was mentioned was this:
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6
I suppose in World War One, many more people had a living faith, and so were familiar with the Bible. Of course, after the war, many faced a crisis of faith in the face of the horrors they had experienced.
It reminded me of my cousin, an army sergeant-major who began corresponding with me on the eve of the first Gulf War. Some soldiers take comfort in spiritual things when they face combat.
The programme reminded to pray for those facing the terror of combat in Afghanistan and to pray that a peace can be found that will allow them to return safely.