Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friend. John 15:13
It is bright. It is bold. It is something to behold. These resilient flowers flourished in the middle of so much chaos and destruction, growing in the thousands upon thousands. It also serves as an important symbol to our veterans, honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. The red poppy. In the spring of 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lt. Colonel John McCrae was so moved by the sight of these poppies growing in the midst of such bleakness, that it inspired him to write the now famous poem, “In Flanders Field.”
This poem then inspired an American academic named Moina Michael to adopt the poppy in memory of those who had fallen in the war. She campaigned to get it adopted as an official symbol of remembrance across the United States and worked with others who were trying to do the same in Canada, Australia, and the UK. Also involved with those efforts was a French woman, Anna Guerin, who was in the UK in 1921 where she planned to sell poppies in London.
There she met Earl Haig, founder of the Royal British Legion, who was persuaded to adopt the poppy as an emblem for the Legion in the UK. The Legion, which had been formed in 1921, ordered nine million poppies and sold them on 11 November of that year. The poppies sold out almost immediately. The first “Poppy Appeal” raised over 106,000 pounds to help veterans with housing and jobs—a considerable sum at the time. Today’s “Poppy Appeal” consists of 40,000 volunteers who distribute 40 million poppies.
In view of how rapidly the poppies had sold and wanting to ensure plenty of poppies for the next appeal, Major George Howson set up the Poppy Factory to employ disabled ex-servicemen. Today, the factory and the Legion’s warehouse in Aylesford produces millions of poppies each year.
The demand for poppies in England continued unabated and was so high, that few poppies actually managed to reach Scotland. To address the growing demand, Earl Haig’s wife, Dorothy, established the “Lady Haig Poppy Factory” in Edinburgh in 1926 to produce poppies exclusively for Scotland.
Remembrance today is very different than it was 100 years ago. Yet, people take part whatever their political or religious beliefs. The poppy remains a humble, poignant symbol of remembrance and hope.
Now that the history lesson is done, it’s time to stop and smell the flowers. Isn’t nature even prettier when it represents such a beautiful story? Blessings, Chris
Last weekend, I had the lovely opportunity to get together with my four sisters and my mom for a lunch and cousin visit. It had been such a long time since we were all together. It was precious to say the least.
My mom had called us all together to give us a surprise gift. We truly had no clue what it would be, but my mom mentioned that it would be very special. My parents have been married for 43 years. For their 40th wedding anniversary, my dad gave my mom a new wedding set. Her old set was in desperate need of repair and was unwearable. Our gift was a gold necklace set with a small diamond from her original wedding set. I cannot imagine a more special way to honor the original ring!
As I reflected upon the gift that evening, I thought of 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” My mom’s original ring was worn, broken, and tarnished. Yet, with a little help, the ring was made into an entirely new creation. It was made clean and transformed into something that didn’t even resemble its old form. This is exactly what Christ does for us. When we invite Jesus into our worn, broken lives, he promises to make us new. We may even become unrecognizable as Christ transforms our hearts and lives to look more like his. What a precious gift. In His Service, Carley
I like my name. Bonnie is not a common name, and it means beautiful. My mom said she named me after her best friend when she was young. From my point of view, my name is pretty nice. But the name Bonnie does not really tell you much about who I am; there is no definition of my personhood, history, or future. For that you need to use some other words like wife, mom, friend, believer, planner, decision-maker, explorer, or my current favorite, nana.
However, my name is nothing compared to Jesus. In fact, Paul told the Philippians that God gave Jesus the name that is above every name; and that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow in heaven and on earth. (Philippians 2) I never heard of anyone bowing down to my name!
If you do a Google image search for the name of Jesus, you will find many artistic compilations of some of the names used for Jesus. Messiah, truth, word, gift of God. Words that describe who Jesus is, names that define how He interacts with us, and phrases to clarify His position. Names that tell the past, present, and future beautifully wrapped up in the name I AM.At the mention of His name, the enemy must flee from us, and the lost are saved.
Then there are names that help me know Jesus in my day-to-day life: When I am lost, He is The Way When I am fearful, He is the Power of God When I sin, He is the Friend of Sinners When I am sick, He is the Physician When I am sad, He is the Man of Sorrows When I am spiritually hungry, He is Living Bread When I am broken by life, He is Counselor When I need wisdom, He is Teacher When I face death, He is Eternal Life When I need a safe place, He is Sanctuary When I am held hostage by life, He is my Ransom When things are dark, He is the Bright and Morning Star When I am ashamed, He is Holy
No wonder Paul said His name was above every other name. The Bible used so many names for Jesus so we could know Him, understand Him and be close to Him. Jesus was never meant to be far away from us. He came to earth to understand us, to make himself known to us, and to suffer with us. Jesus longs for us to call out His name. I encourage you to spend some time this week exploring the many names of Jesus in the Bible. We may be familiar with names like Redeemer and Good Shepherd, but what about Seed of the Woman, Second Man, and Rock of Offense? The Bible gave us the many names of Jesus so we could know Him better. Surely Jesus is the most beautiful name I know. In His Name, Bonnie
During our last staff meeting with Pastor Craig before he went on his 3-month sabbatical, he asked us to think about all the changes that have come with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. He asked us to think about the negative effects and the positive effects. And, what do we wish to be the new normal for ourselves? Since I’d already been thinking a lot about this, figured it’d be a good time to put down my thoughts on paper.
Probably one of the most noticeable negative effects is distancing myself from others. I’m a people-person and get a lot of energy from being around my church friends. Beginning when I walk from the parking lot into the building, I enjoy greeting folks passing by with comments about the day and sharing kindnesses with others. Walking through Krueger Hall, I invariably share greetings with folks I know and those I don’t yet know. It’s such a great feeling to be around so many other people who come together to worship the Lord, too! Then, as I share hugs with my friends, greeting them in the love of God…ah, such a warm and wonderful feeling! Following the always meaningful sermon, I get to delve into events in the lives of friends over coffee and that guilty pleasure of my half-donut treat. I always leave Sunday morning service uplifted, with a smile on my face and the warmth of having shared love with my church family. I miss my church family!
Another negative effect has been disturbing the routine of being able to pop into Super 1, the Dollar Store, JoAnn’s Fabrics, Walgreens, etc. whenever I had a notion to. Another guilty pleasure has been the occasional stop at McDonald’s for a cheeseburger (plain) and iced tea (large) or a drive-through of Starbucks (16-oz iced mocha/non-fat/no-whip, please). I miss that freedom to act on those impulses.
I also have found new attitudes about boundaries when in a position of being around total strangers, say, in a grocery store, public restroom, or on a sidewalk. Is this a feeling of fear (they might be passing me a virus)? Is this resentment (they’re “using-up” my air-space)? Is this conflicting emotions (I want to chat with strangers/I don’t want to be anywhere around strangers)? I don’t like these feelings of being uncomfortable around my fellow man at all! I miss the openness and comfort of being around others.
But, what about the positive effects? Well, I truly enjoy participating in the YouTube worship (in my nightgown) and seeing live posts from around the country and the world. It makes me feel connected seeing Ray Weaver playing the piano; Rob & Shastina Blackston singing from their home; Pastor Craig delivering the sermon from his living room. I enjoy not having the half-hour drive to downtown Coeur d’Alene for service and work. It has surprised me greatly that I have enjoyed the online worship!
I also cannot believe how much money I’m saving by not giving in to those inspirational trips to the grocery store where I always pick-up more than I had planned! And, those stops at McDonald’s and Starbucks have helped to ease the cash and calorie wallets. So, yeah, those have been positive effects.
My knowledge base has deepened by using new tools that I probably never would have tried on my own. If you’ve reached one of us on the church office phone during the last few weeks, you’ve been talking to me in Rathdrum, Chris in Hayden, Stephanie in Post Falls, or Bonnie actually in Coeur d’Alene (yet, not usually physically at the church). In fact, Chris and I use a duplicate of the computer we normally use in the church office, but it’s on our own home computers! Wild! Our staff meetings and ChristCare group meetings have been taking place by Zoom while seeing one another all in a grid on the same screen. Now, those are crazy concepts to me! But, it’s amazing how readily I have adapted to that way of doing business! That’s been a big positive effect.
But along with the specific negative effects and the positive effects, I must admit to feeling worry about how all these things will affect the future.
I’m concerned about removing the personal barriers I’ve built around myself. Will I be able to do that readily? Will I continue to shy away from others, so I don’t get someone else’s germs or give them ones I didn’t know I had? My wish is that this feeling of self-protection flies out the window soon! As a people-person, I’ll be quite glad if it disappears—or will I? It’s that worry that’s haunting me right now.
So, yes, Pastor Craig, there is the advent of the new normal on our doorstep. There are exciting new ways to do things, new awareness of our surroundings, but there are some worries out there, too.
I love the Coeur d’Alene Press (the print edition, please!) and especially enjoy its Sunday feature article by Harvey Mackay. He shares upbeat advice for business and in life as told through his stories and examples. Knowing that I needed the reminders, I had recently cut out two quotes from an article he wrote on worrying. The first quote on my wall is, “Worry is wasting today’s time to clutter up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.” The other one is, “Worry pulls tomorrow’s cloud over today’s sunshine.” They spoke loudly to me!
Two thousand years before, Paul wrote to the people of Philippi, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Thank you, Lord, for presenting this opportunity for us to grow. Thank you, also, for guiding us through these deep waters. I need to trust that You have brought us to this time of “40” for a reason. May I respond with acceptance of the “new normal” You have in mind for me. Your friend in Christ, Emily Rogers