1 EAGLETON NOTES: Death in Victory



Thursday, 23 July 2009

Death in Victory

I have been hoping to blog about Glasgow's Cathedral (or one of them) but for the last couple of weeks the opportunity to get some decent photos when it's not raining has eluded me. I have, however, been round the Cathedral. I love old churches because one can soak up so much atmosphere. I have been in churches which repelled me with overwhelming feelings of ungodliness and I have been in churches (one being the Cathedral at Rheims in France) where, on standing in front of one of the chapels I was suddenly and for no apparent reason, overwhelmed by a feeling I could not explain and stood there with tears streaming down my face.

Glasgow Cathedral is certainly a place of great atmosphere but what struck me was the very large number of memorials to the victims of war from centuries ago to the Gulf War. One such individual memorial bore the words "Death is Swallowed up in Victory". This theme is commonly used. For a nation unbeaten on it's own soil by a foreign power since 1066 such words come fairly easily. Whilst not a pacifist I am very conscious of the evils of war and the readiness with which the human race apparently resorts to it and I find it difficult to say that there are winners and losers in war. There are, it seems to me, just various degrees of loss the least of which we term 'victory'. And every nation goes to war with its God on its side; often the very same God.

So, returning to the theme 'Death is Swallowed up in Victory' what do the vanquished put on their memorials? After all, with 100 million people losing their lives as a result of war in the last century there are a lot of memorials.


  1. "And every nation goes to war with its God on its side; often the very same God."

    The very same God loves us all, but are all with the very same God? I think not.

    Looking through all of the Biblical history, God was not leading both sides into battle. I am not a debator, but I believe that all are not following the One True God, GB; many are following some of God's leading, with their personal and selfish ambitions mixed in.

    It is diffifult to see, feel and know that war exists; but selfishness often rules in the human heart, pride leads the mind and just as I've said in some notes...not all have true understanding :)

  2. Do you not feel, Hather, that every leader has used a god (or in many cases in times gone by, many gods) to further his cause in war. The pride and selfishness which may be a fector in leading men to war may make them ungodly but may not stop them believeing in a god nor using the name of God.

    Like you I am not one to debate the issue but the point I was trying to make was that whilst many may follow Allah as the one True God those who, for example, fought in the First and Second World Wars were often of the same religion (principally Roman Catholicism) calling on the God of that religion to defend their true cause.

  3. Hmmmm...very interesting "not" debate you have going on here.
    One I do NOT have the answers to.

    Nevertheless...I DO know how you feel about the atmosphere of some churches. I remember visiting the one in Yorkshire, England, that has the largest stained glass window in the world...AND the Roman ruins underneath the building...I could literally FEEL the history.
    Also, after I lost my home church in the d.i.v.o.r.c.e. settlement....
    ....I wanted to experience something at the opposite end of the pendulum swing. So, I would slip into the last row at the Catholic church. I instantly felt such an overwhelming sense of peace that was amazing. I loved the ritual and the orderliness of it all. It was soothing.
    I have many others...I could write a book.

  4. Yup...you're right :) - after re-reading my comment and yours, and the post itself. Really though, I wasn't meaning to sound as I did in that comment I made.

    You know my heart, GB...and most surely how I feel about war. I will say though, that what is was before and will be again until the day it all ends and we find truth in freedom :)

    NOW - with all of that said....I like this post, GB. I've read something in it that enabled me to see His Spirit is moving within you :)

  5. So true, GB that there are no real "winners" in war. I, too wonder why we resort to it time and agin. It seems so ridiculous, throwing the baby out with the bath water...burning down the house to get rid of a flea....

  6. Heather: I didn't think you sounded anything that you shouldn't have sounded in your comment. I just think that I hadn't adequately explained what I meant.

    And yes I do understand how you feel about war.