During the month of November, we remember our Veterans around the world and here in America. For this special remembrance day, we would like to share with you from two articles written by May Tripp. But first, an introduction. In the words of Roslyne Smith from her book “Animal Welfare: Through The Cross”:
“In the summer of 1985, I received a telephone call from a lady called May Tripp, inviting me to a coffee morning she had organised in aid of Humane Research Trust. I duly attended this event and met for the first time with May. She spoke with me of her concern about animal cruelty and the fact that there seemed to be no Christian voice to speak for them. On 15 July, 1985, a group of 10 of us met in May’s home and Animal Christian Concern (ACC) was formed. Just over a year later this small group had grown to around 600 members…”
If you have not read the book, we encourage you to do so. All proceeds go to support animal welfare causes. It is full of excellent articles written by May, Roslyne, various clergy, members of ACC and other contributors, who have sought through these articles and other activities to address the Christian Church in the United Kingdom with hopes of awakening God’s people to their duty of care toward our fellow creatures in the animal kingdom. There is a Facebook link to ACC on this page under “Facebook Pages” as well as here; the link to find the book is under “Blogs we follow”, Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals, or go here.
This post is dedicated to all the men, woman, and animals who have served in war from the beginning of war.
Excerpts from the article THE GULF: 1991 (#41):
“O SOVEREIGN LORD, HOLY AND TRUE, HOW LONG BEFORE THOU WILT JUDGE AND AVENGE OUR BLOOD ON THOSE WHO DWELL UPON THE EARTH?” (Revelation 6 v 10)
It is February, 1991, and guns of war are pounding in the countries of the Gulf, in those countries which the Holy Bible knows as Babylon. Missiles streak across skies darkened by black clouds of pollution, human lives are lost as buildings topple, planes crash and ships sink. Creatures of land and sea struggle to survive on scorched earth and in befouled waters; creatures of land and sea lose the anguished struggle and die.
“How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein?” (Jeremiah 12 v 4).
“How long …?” cried the martyred saints of Revelation, unable to understand the stillness of God in the face of an evil which had killed, and which would continue to kill, His people. “How long . . .?” silently prayed those of us who kept vigil for peace and believed to the last that this war would not, could not, start. “How long . . .?” must grieve the hearts of all those whose loved ones now face the dangers of conflict or of captivity.
What is it that we want when we cry out to God in this way? We want Him to intervene, oh yes, we want Him to intervene, and sometimes it seems that He does. Individual prayers are answered: people are healed, situations are resolved and requests are heard and granted. But the really big crises seem to be beyond His scope. Wars rage, civil conflicts grind on and famines devour the innocent.
It is often difficult to remember the one really big intervention of God, the one in which He sent His only Son into a world torn by spiritual warfare and in which His creatures had fallen into enemy hands, with orders to secure the release of His creation even at the cost of His own life.
“For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things; whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood shed on the Cross.” (Colossians 1 v 19).
“The Lord is going to devastate the earth and leave it desolate. . . The Lord has spoken and it will be done . . . The earth dries up and withers; the whole world grows weak; both earth and sky decay. The people have defiled the earth by breaking God’s laws and by violating the covenant He made to last forever… A time is coming when the Lord will punish the powers above and the rulers of the earth… He will rule in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, and the leaders of the people will see His glory.” (Isaiah 24).
Constantly we Christians pray for the return of Christ Jesus, pray for that return promised by Him in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21. We try to avoid remembering that His return will be preceded by the traumatic, earth-shaking events which were prophesied by Isaiah, the Gospels and revealed to John in the Book of Revelation. “The Lord is going to devastate the earth . . .” This is a hard prophecy and how are we to understand it? How can this be the will of God who is Love? Could Isaiah thousands of years ago, or even a visionary of one hundred years ago, have envisaged a situation in which good earth would rot with pollution and high above, the ozone layer would fracture? Did John really believe, as he faithfully recorded the words, that there would come a day when:
“A third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died. . .” (Revelation 8).
Now that we, God’s people of 1991, have seen indications of some of these things coming to pass, as well as the emergence of a fearful nuclear potential, perhaps we can understand these hard words a little more clearly. We can now recognise that we ourselves have brought these things to pass, simply by living a human-centred existence in the worship of our own human-centred knowledge, rather than in the loving selflessness of God. The awful thing is that we do not need to be bad to be separated from the ways of God; we only need to be human. Much of the world’s pollution has been brought about by genuine, if selfish, attempts to improve the lot of humankind.
I find it difficult to imagine life in the Holy City (Revelation 21). If I am truly honest I would really like it to contain the very best of what my own English civilization has to offer: a comfortable house, well furnished, a garden in the sunshine, a smart car for visiting the green countryside, crisp snow and warm clothes and central heating. And good food. In fact I would like everyone on this earth right now to have all those things. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to want them. But the reality is that those of us who have them, and that means very many of us in the western world, have acquired them at the expense of some other person, some other creature or some natural resource. Exploitation is at the root of almost everything which cossets us. If you find this difficult to accept, then look through your larder, your wardrobe, your home and your garage and trace the contents back to the Third World with its sweated labour, to the receding rain forests, to insecticide sprays, to animal research laboratories, to intensive farms and abattoirs, to the victims of the war in the Gulf. But at the same time remember that they who are exploited, given the opportunity, would themselves exploit. This is what it is to be human. This is what it is to be fallen. This is what it is to need a Saviour:
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3 v 23).
How eagerly we reach out for the saving love of Jesus, the Good Shepherd – not quite so eagerly, perhaps, to the judgment of Jesus, the Lamb who sits upon the throne. ~May Tripp
A paragraph from the article MISTY AND BILL (#45):
“Human beings…have died without dignity or ceremony: some on the battlefield, some in POW or concentration camps, some in natural disasters and some in the social disasters of poverty and drug contaminated streets. We pray that all of these people are remembered by somebody and we are all familiar with the Royal British Legion Services of Remembrance. During the 1996 broadcasts to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the ending of World War II, I was deeply moved to hear a veteran of the First World War speaking of the sufferings which the forces had endured; but one of his most powerful memories, he said, was that of the suffering of dying horses which had been part of the cavalry or which had pulled the gun carriages. Many of the soldiers, he said, had found the cries of these animals more difficult to bear than their own sufferings. Millions of horses and messenger pigeons were used in World War I. In World War II, mules, elephants and messenger pigeons played their part, especially in south East Asia and Burma, and sniffer dogs searched for survivors in bombed out buildings. Still we use dogs in this way, to seek out explosives and drugs, and many animals are victims of ballistic experiments. Some war memorials include a remembrance of animals, but very few nationwide… ~May Tripp
I don’t know about you, but for most of my life, when I thought of war and all it’s victims, animals were not the first thing and likely they rarely came to mind. For me, since over the last few years of becoming aware of animal exploitation in all the forms it now exists, I more readily think of them as also the victims of our wars. Victims who, like in all the ways we exploit them especially for food, clothing, sport, vivisection, entertainment, and sport, do not have a choice to enter our wars, unlike the people who choose to serve.
So during this Veteran’s Day, as all of us are remembering family members, other loved ones and service members who fell in the clutches of war, let’s also remember the untold number of animals who also suffered and died.
One day, all war will cease, praise God, as God moves all creation from this age into the next. Let’s pray that the human race will continually strive to move, through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, toward an ever more peaceful existence between each other, all created beings, and the earth – ever envisioning and living into the Peaceable Kingdom to come “on earth as it is in heaven” – toward ending all war, exploitation, and tyranny of any kind.
Thank you for reading and following our blog! Your comments are always welcome. We hope you are blessed by these articles and the mission of Shepherding All God’s Creatures Blog – for God and the animals, and ultimately all of us. ~Kathy