One of the themes this month is ‘remembering’. We held a Memorial Service recently on 27th October for those who have died recently, and the Remembrance service for those who were killed in wars is at 10am on Sunday 10th November. We are also planning what to do to remember the old church after it is dismantled. There are a number of interesting ideas already, including a prayer garden and maintaining the war memorial
Each of these events are different, and at each we do more than just remember. We are bringing God into a situation that is painful. We show respect and show how we value the lives of those who have died. We say thank you for what they have given us.
In the case of the Remembrance service, there is also the element of doing what we can to ensure that the ultimate sacrifice that has been made has not been in vain. There is a sense in which victory in both the World Wars is enough in itself, as we still live in a free country.
But there is still a real challenge: have we learned the lessons about the horrors of war? This is a complicated question, but the prospects for world peace do not appear to be very good, as we look around today. It is truly shocking as we observe what human beings do to each other. The terrible killings going on in Syria, and terrorist attacks continuing to spread death and fear. Cycles of violence that only seem to escalate. What to do?
At the heart of our Christian worship is another service of remembrance and thanksgiving; our service of Holy Communion. We remember with thanks the death of Jesus, a death that was not in vain as we show each time we respond to Him. Jesus was also the great peacemaker, and lays down a challenge for us: love your enemies; do not keep a record of wrongs; forgive one another.
We may not be able to effect world peace, but we can be peacemakers in our families and community.
Rev Bill Henderson