The Trooping of the Colour, a military ceremonial event held in London each year on the Queen`s official birthday, was held again last month. This event, involving over 1400 soldiers, with 200 horses and over 400 musicians from ten bands takes place in the presence of and with the participation of certain members of the Royal Family and is one of the large tourist attractions of the year.
"The custom of Trooping the Colour dates back to the time of Charles II in the 17th Century when the Colours of a regiment were used as a rallying point in battle and were trooped in front of the soldiers every day to make sure that every man could recognise the colours of his own regiment".(from the Trooping of the Colour Website)
`The actual use of colours,standards or guidons both as a rallying point for troops and to mark the location of the commander is thought to have originated in Ancient Egypt. In the chaos of battle, not least due to the amount of dust and smoke on a battle field, soldiers needed to be able to determine where their regiment was.` (Wikipedia)
These regimental colours or flags are treated with great reverence as they represent the honour and traditions of the regiment and often are inscribed with the names of battles or other symbols representing former achievements.
As we Christians look to the Cross as our rallying point, we are reminded of the achievement of Jesus, our Commanding Officer: He has won the victory for us. The empty cross reminds us that the one who died there for us is no longer there but is ascended in heaven. In the midst of our daily battles we can therefore take encouragement from the fact that the cross is a reminder of the way we have come and where we are going - it is indeed a very much needed point of reference.
Often in the busy-ness of every day life we are not always able to recognise the effect that the work of the cross is, or indeed should be having on our life. Perhaps we need to take time to look afresh at what the cross of Jesus represents to us, the soldiers enrolled in the service of the King of Kings.
Sound the battle cry! See the foe is nigh:
Raise the standard high for the Lord;
Gird your armour on,stand firm everyone;
Rest your cause upon His holy word.
Rouse, then, soldiers, rally round the banner,
Ready, steady, pass the word along:
Onward, forward,shout aloud, `Hosanna!`
Christ is captain of the mighty throng.
Author William F Sherwin (1869)
Songs and Music (Salvation Army 1922)
Prayer: Dear Lord, Please help me never to forget what the cross stands for and what you achieved there for me. As I daily apply to my life what you did for me at Calvary, please strengthen me and help me to be a good and effective soldier for you. Amen.