Remembrance Day on the 11th November and the numerous acts of Remembrance in communities and churches throughout the country on the 14th is very much about looking back to the two world wars, as well as the many other conflicts that have occurred and persist in occurring, in order to recall the tragic consequences in terms of lives lost and injuries sustained to say nothing of the fractured communities that war brings in its wake. If our remembering today is to have any value it must be accompanied by a vision for a better future – a future that survives the chaos of the present – otherwise it has all been so pointless and wasted.
God’s ultimate promise to us is that God will dwell with us. There will be no more mourning, no more crying, no more pain.
The terrible cycle of violence and war into which we seem to be so hopelessly trapped is broken as we adopt that different way of living which Christ has shown us – the way of sacrificial love, forgiveness and reconciliation. That, and that alone, makes our remembrance worthwhile; that is how the suffering, the cost, the sacrifice of the past – which we remember today are transformed into something worthwhile, meaningful and creative.
Today, as we pause to remember let us not dwell too much on the past however, painful and distressing, pointless, and life destroying the past is. Rather let us look to the future and commit to building a better world a safer and fairer environment that future generations may share.
Perhaps in joining our remembering with one another we will rediscover God’s promise of a glorious future. And however imperfectly those who have fallen in conflict perceived the future to be, may we as individuals, as a church, as a community, as a nation not only share their confusion and disappointment but the hope they had for a better future — however vague.
May we, with God’s grace, discover a vision for that glorious future which God intends and to which he calls us to share with people of all nations and indeed with the whole of creation.
What better way to remember those whose lives were taken and destroyed, than to embrace a better future and recommit ourselves to God who beckons forward.
God of peace and gentleness,
we remember with deep sorrow
the faults, fears and failures
that repeatably leads
the escalation of hatred
and to war.
We repent of our complicity
in the cycle of violence,
for colluding with anger,
or giving way to passions of hostility.
We pray as we remember those
who have suffered as a result of our forgetfulness,
We confess our inhumanity to one another,
and pray that we may disarm our desire
to over-power, to triumph over others.
Help us to resist peacefully every form of violence
so that we can follow you
in ways of gentleness and justice
continually resolving to form life-giving relationships.
We recommit ourselves to share the riches of your creation
with one another
and work together to establish a better life for all.
strengthened by the forgiveness of Jesus,
the fearlessness of the Spirit,
the transforming love of the Creator,
Revd Michael Diffey