This week I was looking at Facebook and I saw some pictures which made my heart melt. The photos were put up by a friend’s brother. He lives in the Phillipines and he had come over with his family, and it was pictures of his sons with their grandparents. One of the sets of the photos were when they went to a cemetery to visit the place of rest of my friend. Clare died 8 years ago and I know that this visit will have been filled with stories of Clare, for the boys to learn about their aunty. I know that I regularly talk about her. When I was on holiday with friends from school last year we spoke about her so much, and it felt like she was there.
This week we take a break from looking at our hymns to think about the importance of remembering, as we approach Remembrance Day. Our thought for the week comes from Czeslaw Milosz who says ‘the living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story’.
This is important for Clare… this is important for all those who are no longer with us… everyone has a message, everyone has a passion, everyone has a story… if we know what that was it is important for us to share.
People may argue that although yes, it is important for everyone, is it is especially important when it comes to those who have lost their lives so that we can have ours.
I don’t think anyone would say that we like the idea of war, however it is something that exists. Some would say it is a necessity. I have to teach about war a lot, even with year 7 we discuss the fact that we have human rights because so many people lost theirs during the holocaust, and World War II. Countless lives have been lost through the various wars that have happened through history. Many of those lives have been given, because those people were passionate about defending their country, or defending the innocent lives of others. I am no expert but I don’t think anyone goes in to the armed forces because they want to kill, they want to protect, and they do so knowing that they may have to give the biggest sacrifice… their own life.
This is why we remember, this is why we tell their story. By remembering why those people did what they did, by remembering the atrocities that have happened through war, we can but hope and pray that we will strive to not get to a place where war is deemed necessary in the first place. We are getting to a time now where there are not many people left from the two world wars, therefore we need to keep the story.
As Christians our faith is based around remembrance. Remembering the sacrifice that was made when an innocent man died in the place of all of us. He died so that we might live. Every time we share the Eucharist that is what we are doing. As Christians we are called to share his story with others that they may also know what was done for them.
We actively remember this who died in war on the 11th November, we actively remember the story of Jesus in a Church service or act of worship. But maybe, in the same way that we are called to live lives sharing the life and sacrifice that Jesus made for us, so that we can have eternal life; we should also make more of an effort to remember the life and sacrifices that millions of people, and their families have made that we may have the every day freedom that we know and love, and take for granted.
Challenge: is there anyone in your family who has fought in the armed forces? Can you try to find out more about their story so that you can share that with others?
Prayer: father God we live in a damaged world, where to often the answer seems to be hatred and violence. Help us to remember that we also live in a world that has so much more freedom because of the sacrifices that people have made for us. We pray for those who are in the armed forces, and we remember those who have given their lives that we may have life. Amen