100 years ago, on 11th November 1918, the 1st World War came to an end after 4 years of fighting. In those 4 years, over 1 million service men and women gave their lives that we might live and enjoy the peace that we now do. To learn something about the 1,060,174 lives that were given, The Royal British Legion website is well worth visiting to see, in both pictures and words, the people that we are remembering and giving thanks for – not just a number among many, but rather real people with ‘Every One Remembered.’
As we look back again for a 100th year, all of us would rather there had been no 1st World War, where war is nothing to celebrate as a way of solving human conflict. However, awful times are a real fact of human life and history, and which is very good when it comes to an end. So, what is it that we are doing 100 years on? I have had heard the word ‘celebration’ mentioned a few times, and in some ways, I think we could say that in this year we are indeed celebrating something. However, I think perhaps a more appropriate way of speaking is to say that this year is rather ‘a special time to remember’ so that we do not forget what happened 100 years ago and do not forget in the next 100 years.
So how can we make this year ‘a special time to remember’?
In Bishop’s Waltham, if it would be wonderful if you might join in with the Remembrance Day Parade, Remembrance Service and Beacon Lighting Ceremony. The Remembrance Day Parade is on Sunday 11th November 2018 starting at 10.30am, the Remembrance Service is at St Peter’s starting at 10:50am and the Beacon Lighting Ceremony is at 7pm in Priory Park. The Beacons will symbolise the ‘light of hope’ that emerged from the darkness of war.
In Upham, it would be wonderful if you might join the special Remembrance Service at The Blessed Mary starting at 10:50am and then after the service there will be an opportunity to see the new memorial bench that is to be placed in the church yard, a gift to the village from Upham Parish Council, Blessed Mary Church and personal donations. Over the weekend there will also be a display in the Village Hall with pictures and information about local families and homes from that period.
11th November 2018, 100 years after the end of the 1st World War, will a special time to remember and I am sure we will as a community come together in a special way. And as we remember, let us also remember that perhaps in other ways in today’s world are also called to lay down our lives for others following the greatest example of Jesus Christ who laid down his life to give us all hope of life:
“Greater love has no-one than that they might lay down their life for a friend.” John 15v13
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-10
With my prayers for November
Revd James Hunt Rector St Peter’s Bishop’s Waltham and The Blessed Mary, Upham
8th October 2018