Rev. Charles Hoffacker
G. A. Studdert-Kennedy was among the best-known Anglican priests of the early twentieth century. While serving as a British chaplain during World War I, he became affectionately known as “Woodbine Willy.”
This passage from his book The Word and the Work is especially appropriate for today, the Wednesday in Holy Week.
“On June 7th, 1917, I was running to our line half mad with fright, though running in the right direction, thank God, through what had once been a wooded copse. It was being heavily shelled. As I ran I stumbled and fell over something. I stopped to see what it was. It was an undersized, underfed German boy, with a wound in his stomach and a hole in his head. I remember muttering, ‘You poor little devil, what had you got to do with it? not much great blonde Prussian about you.’
“Then there came light. It may have been pure imagination, but that does not mean that it was not also reality, for what is called imagination is often the road to reality. It seemed to me that the boy disappeared and in his place there lay the Christ upon his cross, and cried, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my little ones ye have done it unto me.‘ From that moment on I never saw a battlefield as anything but a crucifix. From that moment on I have never seen the world as anything but a crucifix.”
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington