Thought for the week, 5th November, Remembrance Day

Hard on All Souls and All Saints, those most Christian of festivals, comes Remembrance Day. The timing is a coincidence, Remembrance Sunday is the Sunday nearest to the Armistice on the 11th of November that marked the end of the First World War; this turned into Remembrance Sunday after the Second World War. The events of this day, the poppies, the two minute silence, the words “they shall not grow old…” are all strictly secular; many war memorials are set apart from churches. We sometimes offer prayers as part of the act of remembrance, but in our benefice, two of these acts will be led by lay members of the churches; a development I fully support.  

It seems to me that it is no bad thing that the church, at least the organised church, does not grab the limelight in remembrance services. We honour all the fallen; non-Christians, those of no faith and it is hardly respectful to them not to acknowledge this. Whilst I will be saying prayers in Highley, I do not expect those who do not share my faith to join me. A message from the Bible and of 2000 years of history after the death and resurrection of Jesus, is that God will not force himself on anyone. Instead, God does something far more important; God is with us, loving and reaching out to us, whatever we may think or do. God was alongside those who fought in the two world wars, he is alongside those who currently serve, he is alongside those who are involved in current conflicts. And he is alongside all those who remember, whether a vicar is present or not, whether they are at a war memorial or not.