‘They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them’.
We will remember them. We cannot do otherwise. On Remembrance Sunday (10th November) we remember those who have given their lives and those who have been injured in the cause of freedom and justice. For as the conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan and the recent terrorist attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Kenya remind us – we live in an uncertain and dangerous world. But it is also a world of hope and joy, of happiness and love. November brings all sorts of remembering associations with it. There is of course, ‘Remember, remember, the 5th of November’ and Bonfire night as we remember the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament - and we give thanks that it failed (though I always feel a bit uncomfortable with the punishment meted out to Guy Fawkes!). On a personal note, like us, you may be celebrating a family member’s, or close friend’s birthday; maybe you have a wedding anniversary or some other occasion when you will give thanks for something special. I guess my reflection is that at any one point in time there is often a mixture of things going on – some sad or disappointing; some happy and hopeful. We mustn’t lose sight of either. We must neither wrap ourselves up in constant happiness in life such that we cut ourselves off from seeing the evil and misery that exists in our world and doing something about it, nor should we immerse ourselves in the darkness and awfulness such that we are never able to sing and laugh and celebrate all the good that is in our world.
As a Christian I remember the huge pain and suffering that God went through in Jesus Christ on the Cross. He did it to secure the true and eternal freedom of all who turn to him in faith. He gave his life that we might have hope and a future. Not a future where we’re cut off from the evil and misery of the world but where we in our small ways become part of his plan of salvation. In other words we become part of God’s plan to bring relief and hope to others and a future that’s free of evil and suffering. It is God’s plan for all of humanity. So when we gather together on Remembrance Sunday this year, let us remember the sacrifice of so many for the cause of freedom and justice and give thanks for them. Let us cry at the horror of war and the evil that exists in our world and let us commit ourselves to becoming part of the solution to our world’s problems.
Jesus gave his life so that we might have hope and a future. He rose again on Easter Day that we might know his power to renew our world and its people. So let us remember and work for a better future!
With my love and best wishes,
your friend and vicar,