Remembrance Sunday draws human beings together in a way that is unique. Both young and old gather together across the nation, at Cenotaphs, Churches and in Public Buildings, such as the Royal Albert Hall some with memories of wars in the past, some who are affected by current conflicts.
In recent years we have commemorated the centenary of World War 1, the end of the Second World War, we have also remembered Victory in Europe and more recently Victory in Japan.
We can gather to reflect and remember allowing some aspect of the reality of war to affect us. Whatever our memories or knowledge of war is, in the silence of Armistice Day we can quietly in our hearts and minds do justice to the cost of war, its sacrifices and its shame.
Sadly, war and conflict are not just confined to the history books, we can turn on our television sets and see and hear of acts of war, violence and bloodshed somewhere in our world today.
So why do we continue to pray for peace in countries that are continually being devastated by wars, such as the Middle East and countries in other parts of the world, isn’t it just a waste of our time? No, we continue to pray for peace because in the book of Leviticus we are told to pray for foreigners and people we do not know. It is easy for us to love someone we like or who we share similar interests with – but to love our enemies – well that’s jolly difficult and can push us outside our comfort zone, even challenge us to the core.
This is only possible for us to do if the love and forgiveness of God is working through us that is how God works.
In the New Testament we hear how Jesus instructed his disciples to ask God to bless those who hurt them, and to do good deeds even to those who cause them harm or upset.
In our acts of remembrance, we need to hand over the power of Christ’s love for that is where the healing is held.
The Gospel message is the healing power and forgiveness in God’s love, of the coming of the Kingdom of God, for the long hoped for future of justice, truth, mercy and peace.
We remember those whom you have gathered
From the storm of war
Into the peace of your presence;
May that same peace calm our fears?
Bring justice to all peoples and establish
Harmony among nations,
We remember those that died in wars, we honour them for their service and sacrifice; we remember the past, pray for the present and hope for the future!”
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
They heard the call, and answered yes,
They proudly wore the battle dress,
For us who live they gave their all
That our great flag would never fall .
Let us this day remember all
Who answered yes, who heard the call,
Who gallantly opposed the foe:
On them let us our praise bestow.
They bravely died that we might live
Unselfishly their lives did give
For King and Country and all men
That we might live in peace again.
Let us with praise those men salute
Let peace and love be our pursuit
Let’s daily live a life humane
That they will not have died in vain.
D. Ross Campbell