The First of the Many

I first came across the story of HMS Amphion through an article in the local newspaper, the Felixstowe Star. It was such an intriguing story that I just had to go out to Shotley and take a look. Up until that point I'd never realised that for the Navy, the reality of the war hit within 24 hours of the declaration of war on 4th August 1914.

What was also remarkable was the number of men killed on the Amphion. A ship of that size in the modern Navy doesn't even have a crew complement that size. All four of the victims in Shotley were stokers - the most vulnerable men on the ship as they were below, feeding coal into Amphion's boilers. The horrors of war arrived quickly in 1914, but as I said in the video, no-one had conceived that the war would go on for so long, suffer so many casualties, or so embed itself into the lives of ordinary people. Do have a look at my video of Felixstowe Museum's exhibition of how the war affected this coastal town.

What started off as excitement for many young men going to war, turned into shock, heartbreak, fear, horror, as they were faced with killing on an industrial scale.   It made people face the realities of death and eternity in a way that in our modern society we don't any more.   We have an expectation of long lives and most people go through life not thinking to hard about death and eternity.

But we should.   Annual remembrance ceremonies and services remind us of the sacrifices people made for our freedom in now, many conflicts.    As C S Lewis said, war forces us to remember death.    Death is there.  We can't escape it.  Life is 100% fatal. 

But Jesus died so that we can face death and eternity without fear, but better still that we can experience life knowing God.   And trusting and following Jesus doesn't require any rocket science, just a recognition that God wants to know you, that Jesus has died for you and accept the forgiveness, relationship and blessings that following Jesus brings.

If you want to know more, do get in touch.