Sunday 14th November 2021

Today we remember lives sacrificed in the service of our Country, and those traumatised and injured in conflict. Let us remember before God those who have died for their country in war; those whom we knew, and whose memory we treasure; and all who have lived and died in the service of mankind.

Readings Psalm 47 & John 15:9-17

Reflection – Remembering

All of our lives we learn the discipline of remembering. From those very earliest of moments there are things we need to remember for life to continue. Sometimes we do this remembering thing in a subconscious way. When we first learn to walk or talk we then need to remember these gifts so that we can continue with them and expand on them. That does not mean we get up each morning and think, ‘How did I do that walking thing I did yesterday?’ It becomes part of everyday life and it becomes what we do. In Church we remember. Some of you may remember as a young person those early prayers. ‘Dear God bless mummy and daddy, my brother and sister and my granny who always gives me sweets. Dear God keep them and me safe until the morning comes. Amen.’ If you attend church in a regular fashion you will have learned the Lord’s Prayer it becomes something that stays with you for the rest of your life.

Never be afraid if you feel the need to pray and you can’t find the words. Pray the Lord’s Prayer it says it all in there. In church when we celebrate Holy Communion or the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper we are remembering all the things that Jesus has done and continues to do for us. It is in itself an act of remembrance. For we remember Christ until he comes again. In life if you learn to drive you must remember the highway code you must remember the sequence of look, signal, manoeuvre. If you are a cook you will need to remember recipes, you will need to remember the order to follow for a successful meal. If you are a sports person or play any games, you need to remember the rules. Now if you stick to them or not is another matter but even if you decide you are going to be a cheat you need to remember the rules so that you know when you are breaking them. This remembering thing can be a highly charged evocative, emotional time in our lives. It can be a moment filled with either joy or sadness. You can set aside a particular time and place such as here this morning or you can be caught completely unawares. It can involve any or all of our senses. Something you see or hear can cause you to say, ‘Oh that reminds me of the time when….’ A smell or a taste and you remember someone dear to you. To touch something and that feeling stirs within you something or someone from the past with whom you share life’s journey.

However, whenever this remembrance occurs it can always be an opportunity to give thanks. Many of you here this morning will know that I visited the WWI Battlefields in 2018. I was so moved by the whole experience of my visit that I got a tattoo that stays with me wherever I go. My act of remembrance for those who gave their today that I may have a tomorrow quite literally never leaves me. Much in the same way, I wear a cross on a chain around my neck and my remembering of who I am and whom I serve is never far from the fore of my mind. Each and every day I remember I belong to the one who gave his all, who opened up for all people the access gate to God, that many may go free. The readings this morning call on us to remember. In verse four of the Psalm the reference is made to an inheritance. An inheritance is something passed on. It is something that someone uses to let you know they are remembering you, even though they may be gone. It is something that someone uses to say to you, ‘you are not alone, I have not forgotten nor abandoned you.’ It is something that someone uses to give of themselves for others. It is something that you can use as an act of remembrance for those who have departed this earthly life. In John’s Gospel Jesus tells us to remember love. Remember to love and remember to allow yourself to be loved. As we are the branches of the vine he will always be nearby. There will never be a place that we go to that he will not be there with us and yes even into those dark and horrible places of war and conflict God does not abandon us but remains ever close.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all.

We are met this day to glorify God whose power sustains the world;

to remember with thanksgiving those who lived and died in the service of our country;

and to ask for God’s help and blessing,

that we may be worthy of their sacrifice each day of our life.

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