Rev. Moodie read two poem's from Rev. Studdert Kennedy, a WWI Anglican chaplain who received a Military Cross for bravery under fire for his work and ministry to soldiers in the trenches. He received the nick-name 'Woodbine Willy' because of his habit of handing out Bibles with packs of cigarettes to the soldiers. Rev. Moodie concluded his sermon with Rev Kennedy's poem "His Mate" which speaks of both the devastation and waste of war, but also of the nobility of the human spirit given in acts of love and kindness for a friend.
THERE'S a broken, battered village
Somewhere up behind the line,
There's a dug-out and a bunk there
That I used to say were mine.
I remember how I reached them,
Dripping wet and all forlorn,
In the dim and dreary twilight
Of a weeping summer morn.
All that week I'd buried brothers,
In one bitter battle slain,
In one grave I laid two hundred.
God! What sorrow and what rain!
And that night I'd been in trenches,
Seeking out the sodden dead,
And just dropping them in shell-holes,
With a service swiftly said.
For the bullets rattled round me,
But I couldn't leave them there,
Water-soaked in flooded shell-holes,
Reft of common Christian prayer.
So I crawled round on my belly,
And I listened to the roar
Of the guns that hammered Thiepval,
Like big breakers on the shore.
Then there spoke a dripping sergeant,
When the time was growing late,
"Would you please to bury this one,
'Cause e' used to be my mate? "
So we groped our way in darkness
To a body lying there,
Just a blacker lump of blackness,
With a red blotch on his hair.
Though we turned him gently over,
Yet I still can hear the thud,
As the body fell face forward,
And then settled in the mud.
We went down upon our faces,
And I said the service through,
From "I am the Resurrection"
To the last, the great "adieu."
We stood up to give the Blessing,
And commend him to the Lord,
When a sudden light shot soaring
Silver swift and like a sword.
At a stroke it slew the darkness,
Flashed its glory on the mud,
And I saw the sergeant staring
At a crimson clot of blood.
There are many kinds of sorrow
In this world of Love and Hate,
But there is no sterner sorrow
Than a soldier's for his mate.
by G.A. Student Kennedy