We will meet again
During the dark years of the 2WW, there was a song that was a firm favourite among the troops and civilians, a song which brought encouragement and inspiration to those separated from friends and loved ones. I am sure many of you know the song I am referring to…… ‘We’ll meet again’ by Vera Lynn.
The 2WW like the 1WW not long before it, brought home the reality of death to so many families and few were left untouched by the loss of a son, husband, brother or other relation. It is always humbling to read about the stories of those who gave their lives and, if you have not got a copy yet, please do think about getting a copy of the book ‘We will Remember Them’ with stories of serviceman from Bishop’s Waltham and Upham who died in the Great War. The book was kindly complied by Peter Ridley, Tony Kippenberger and Alan Inder.
In recent times, through the Covid pandemic, death has come a lot closer to us all where we have not been able, as we often do, to brush our mortality under the carpet. How should we view it? Is it something to dread, a step into a terrifying unknown? Is it a cause to despair? The last enemy that makes a mockery of all our hopes and striving in life?
In the face of this question, the message of the Christian faith is that death has been defeated. Jesus won a new life for all through dying instead of us on the cross and then rising to new life.
The prospect of dying is not something any of us want, we don’t want to get there too soon and none of us want to go through the process. Yet at whatever point our lives come to a close, a Christian’s belief is that when we put our faith in God through his son Jesus, death will not be the end, but the start of a new chapter of life. A chapter, as the Vera Lynn song goes, where we really will meet again….in fact we are guaranteed to meet again.
C S Lewis, the famous writer of the Narnia stories, said that the Christian never need be afraid of death, but has God’ promise that this life is just the start of our story. This life is really only like the first letter on the first page of a book and the rest of our story is still to come.
This month we remember those who have died and thank God for them, but as we think about our own mortality, let’s look forward not with fear, but with hope as the bible says: “21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” 1 Corinthians 12v15-22, 51, 52
A prayer for us all that we might face death with hope: Heavenly Father, thank you that in your son Jesus, you have defeated death and that I have nothing to fear. I trust in you as my saviour and King for my life now and for my life to come. Amen
With my prayers for November, and as we remember all who have laid down their lives for us
Revd James – Rector St Peter’s Bishop’s Waltham and Blessed Mary Upham
19th October 2021