1 Today, as on all landmark days
we search for common ground;
where shall our unity in Christ,
in times of war, be found?
For those who dared, destroyed and died
and those who served at home,
with those who never fired a shot;
all to their rest have come.

2 The names of rivers, woods and towns
endure so long, so late;
so unforgettable the scenes,
indelible, the date;
while bittersweet, such memories
stir us to think, and live
as those with everything to lose
and everything to give.

3 We honour Henry Allingham,
and with him, Harry Patch:
these last survivors now have gone
who kept their lonely watch.
Each had contrasting thoughts of war
as unresolved as ours;
we taste the glory, feel the shame;
some red, some white, the flowers.

4 Ours is a different age, and world;
still one in need of grace;
of justice, freedom, pardon for
one helpless human race.
We who acknowledge one true Lord
unite in faith today,
for death is not the final word,
but Christ, the living Way.

5 O Christ our Judge, our Life, our Peace,
who laid your body down,
let us not fail through power or pride
to gain your righteous crown.
Our prayers, our hopes cannot undo
the horrors of the past;
come, risen Saviour, bring for all
the Kingdom that will last!

Allingham (1896-2009) was 'Kitchener's last volunteer'.
Patch (1898-2009) was the last surviving soldier from WW1.

Christopher Idle

words © Christopher Idle / Jubilate 
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