Suffragette is about the struggle to win the vote for women and is a compelling, if harrowing film. One that I found disturbing and challenging. It made me realise how easily I speak of folks who have made huge sacrifices to change the world, but I often don’t really consider the terrible cost for some of them. The full extent of their commitment and sacrifice.
Suffragette tells the story of Maud, a mill worker who joins the Suffragette movement. As a result she loses her job, is imprisoned and endures forced feeding when she goes on hunger strike. She also loses her family along the way. Like so many struggles in history, this was a costly battle of blood, sweat and tears.
I recently came across the account of WW1 Chaplain, Theodore Hardy. He was an extraordinarily courageous man who won the DSO, the MC and the Victoria Cross for bravery in the trenches. He was constantly risking his life to crawl to help men who were wounded, bringing food and encouragement and rescuing a good number of them. Often under heavy gun and shell fire. He was embarrassed about his medals and would often cover up the ribbons on his uniform when meeting other soldiers. He joined up at 51, describing himself as a coward who was not afraid of death. He met the famous chaplain ‘Woodbine’ Willie who told him that the place to be was with the men. Effectively that meant in the mud and the mire and the brutal existence of the trenches. Theodore Hardy really took that to heart. Sadly, just three weeks before the end of the war, his brave compassion and dedication cost him his life.
Down the ages many have made huge sacrifices, often as they have sought to follow God and bring his light to the world. They suffered indignity, imprisonment and oppression. The book of Hebrews, chapter 11, contains a list of many of these people. Some it says, saw miracles and deliverance, while others suffered terribly. The Bible makes no pretence about the difficulties of following God. It can be costly and demanding. ‘Since we are surrounded by these heroes,’ the writer of Hebrews encourages us, ‘let us be inspired and keep on running the race.’