Remembering Those Who Die In War.
People die in war.
The people who marched off proudly in their uniforms, cheered on by adoring crowds to defend the honour of their nation, tribe, clan or culture…… these same people die. And their families and loved ones grieve their passing.
Such grief becomes even more acute when the meaning of the war changes, and the outcome of the war is not as certain as its proposal, and the passing of time erodes the memory of the noble impulses that drove people to the battlefield.
And so it is appropriate that we all should pause and grieve those who have gone before us. Most nations have days when they mark their heroes who have died – but all too often such days are taken over by a modern political leadership intent jingoism and flag-waving in support of their own narrow cause.
For this reason we gather in the second week of November to remember those who have died in war – all people, everywhere. This flowed out of the marking of the armistice between Germany and the Allies of World War 1, when hostilities on the Western Front would cease on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. After World War ll many countries adopted this date to mourn those who died, and many memorial services are held on Remembrance Sunday – which is the Second Sunday of November.
So this coming Sunday – Remembrance Sunday – let us resist the urge to trumpet the martyrdom of our own dead in the glorious military victories of our national cause, and instead remember all who die in war: and pray for a day when “they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).
O God of the Great Silence
Whose son Jesus we remember as the Prince of Peace.
We grieve our human impulse to violence
And the terrible loss of life in warfare.
We remember those who have died.
Some we have loved, and some we have hated.
But all are your creation.
Grant us the kind of Peace in our hearts
That leads us to acts of peace-making
So that our world shall have war no more.