On November 11th at 11am, we stop and silently remember the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the giving of their lives to keep our country free and safe from harm. We do not in any way glorify war but we recognise that there does come a time when we must confront evil and stand up for what we hold dear.
As a former soldier myself, especially at this time of the year, I find myself thinking of fallen comrades I knew and just how much we owe these often forgotten, unthanked and ignored heroes who keep us safe and stand on front line to confront those who would seek our harm.
Recently, I was reminded of the story of Manfred, Freiherr von Richthofen, a famous German First World War fighter pilot. He was better known as the Red Baron because he flew a distinctive a red Fokker aircraft. He shot down more combat planes than anyone else on either side in the First World War His known kill tally was 80.
On 21st April 1918, he began chasing a Canadian plane – that was trying to escape the battle over the Morlan-Court Ridge, near the river Somme. As the Red Baron pursued his prey, he strayed behind Allied lines. He dived too low into the enemy lines. He also missed a Canadian pilot (Arthur) “Roy” Brown coming up on his tail to help his comrade.
We will never know whether it was a shot from the ground – or a shot from Brown that killed Richthofen. But what we do know is that the “Red Baron” came to his end because he made the mistake of pursuing that Allied ‘plane “too long, too far, and too low into enemy territory” (as one report so succinctly put it)
There is a lesson for us here. Many committed Christians have been shot down because they have followed temptation for too long, too far, and too low into enemy territory. And as with Richthofen, they are then caught unawares and then have to deal with the consequences.
As we remember our Country’s fallen heroes, remember that today, there is a great spiritual battle raging in the unseen realm. Take care that you don’t become a casualty.