Today marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force by the Ulster Unionist Council and Sir Edward Carson. Their purpose was not to terrorise the inhabitants of Ulster but to defend them, should Home Rule be imposed. Following on from the rally at Balmoral at Easter 1912, the Carson Trail and the signing of the Ulster Covenant on 28th September 1912, the formation of the UVF was seen as the next step in ensuring that Ulster remained British. The purpose of their formation could truly be said to have been for God and Ulster, to defend their land should it be cut off by Britain, against the repercussions of 'Rome rule' that would surely follow.
Although never called to defend Ulster in the sense that was anticipated, the UVF made an invaluable contribution to the cause during World War 1. Many of those men who had joined Carson's Volunteers in January of 1913 joined the British Army in the fight against Germany, principally making up the numbers of the 36th Ulster Division. Their moment of glory was to come on the fields of the Somme on 1st July 1916. In a battle that was to cost countless lives they were awarded four Victoria Cross's and had their actions described as 'one of the finest displays of human courage in the world'.
There are those today who will often describe what they do as being for God and Ulster. Yet in truth many have forgotten about God, and Ulster has also benefited little from their actions. There have been those who have taken the name of the UVF yet have contributed nothing but murder and terror. Politicians and Protestant ministers have invoked the name of God to justify their action when often their deeds have been contrary to the word of God. In all that local politicians and church leaders do, they must first and foremost consider what is honouring to God. Throwing petrol bombs at police lines is not honouring to God. At the other end of spectrum neither is conducting ecumenical services with Roman Catholic priests honouring to God. A shared future which which results in the lines between biblical Protestantism and Romanism being blurred is not at all beneficial to God and Ulster.
How great the need is for us to examine what we are doing for God and Ulster. Are we only serving our own cause or are we seeking to glorify God. It is only where we put God first that we can truly do anything which is beneficial for Ulster. Our land cannot truly be turned around except by the mighty working of God. Agreements and forums are not what we need but a heaven sent Holy Ghost revival and it is for this that we pray. As God delivered Ulster a century ago so we pray that he would do so again.