On Sunday 12th November (10:50am at St Peter’s and Blessed Mary) we will be remembering those who have died to defend their loved ones, friends, and fellow countrymen and women. We also remember those whose lives have been devastated by the tragic loss or injury of loved ones. For each of us, Remembrance Sunday will mean different things depending on our life experiences:
-perhaps sadness at the loss of someone close to us
-perhaps anger at the injustices that happen in war
-perhaps thoughtfulness on way the world is and shouldn’t be
-perhaps thankfulness for ‘lives given yesterday, so we might have our today and tomorrow’
If we have been directly affected by those who have died through war, these things will be very real and with us all the time, but for others how can we connect our feelings and thoughts to appreciate all that has been given for us?
The nearest connection for me is with my grandfather who was involved in the D Day landings. He didn’t die then thankfully, but I do often think, as I look at the medals he gave me, of all he did and those he served with.
Another thing I find helpful is to go into a church or stand by a war memorial and spend just a few minutes reading the names of those listed, imagining what they perhaps did and who they were – someone’s brother or son or father or husband, and now also someone’s sister or daughter or mother or wife.
We can never fully understand, but we can perhaps go at least some way to being in their shoes, or of their loved ones, so we can know something of what the bible has to say about those who give up their lives for others:
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15v12-13
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5v7
This year, as every year, it is very good to remember and be thankful for all those who have died so that we might live, including most of all the Son of God himself, Jesus Christ who died to save each one of us and the world.
Finally, if you can, please do join us at St Peter’s and Blessed Mary for our Remembrance services at 10:50am when we can all come together once a year as a whole community….to remember once again those who laid down their lives that we might live and have peace. We will also and especially be praying peace in the parts of world where there is war and conflict including: Israel and Gaza; Ukraine and Russia; Syria; South Sudan; The Yemen; and Myanmar.
With my prayers for November and Remembrance.
Rector – St Peter’s Bishop’s Waltham and Blessed Mary, Upham
1st November 2023