Summary: We must never forget what our peace cost those who never came back
Remembrance Sunday 2008 at Brooksby
I would like to focus our thoughts this morning on one verse from Ps 46
“God is our refuge and strength
A very help in trouble”
For Christians down the centuries, this has been a great source of comfort as they remember the great things that God has done for them.
The ability to remember is a wonderful gift that God has given to us.
In a flash you can be a child again, skimming rocks across a pond, or walking in a meadow.
Many of us can recall the time when we first fell in love, got married and had children.
We can remember – because those memories that are fixed in our minds.
And time cannot rob you of those - so long as your memory continues to function.
Some of our memories are happy and we can recall wonderful experiences.
But some of our memories are sad and we may weep.
The problem, though, is that sometimes memory fails us. Sometimes we forget.
For that reason alone, I think that the Remembrance Sunday Service is one of the most important services in the Church’s calendar, after Christmas and Easter.
Because it helps us not to forget why we have the freedom that we enjoy today.
This year’s service is particularly poignant as it commemorates exactly 90 years since the end of the First World War.
And we also remember the peace we in the Unitedc Kingdom have enjoyed since the end of the Second World War 63 years ago.
And it is vitally important that we never forget that peace here in Great Britain was not bought cheaply
But Remembrance Sunday is not just a reminder of those who died in the First and Second World Wars - important as they were.
It is also a reminder of other conflicts that our armed services have been in
The Korean War
The Aden and Malayan Emergencies
The Falkland War
The Cyprus Conflict
The Northern Ireland Police Action
The 1st and 2nd Gulf Wars
The Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts
And it gives us an opportunity to say “Thank you” for the sacrifice that so many made - so that we in the United Kingdom can enjoy peace
It is appropriate too to come to a Christian Church to hold a service of Remembrance because the Church building itself should remind us of the greatest sacrifice of all
For in the New Testament we read of the story of God sending his own Son Jesus into the world to bring mankind back into a right relationship with God.
And to do so Jesus made the Ultimate sacrifice on our behalf on the Cross
It is the sacrifice that we recall every Easter.
For it is more than simply the remembering of the life of a good man
Rather through it, we are reminded how GOD wants us to live
The rules that God has given us for living - are not rules to curtail our enjoyment of life.
Quite the contrary – they are given – as Jesus
said: so that we may have life and life in abundance (Jn 10:10)
Try to imagine Arsenal playing Man United yesterday with no rules. It would be chaos!
So it is with us when we fail to remember the rules of life that God has given us.
Jesus gave us two great rules to govern life in our society, The first was this.
To “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind (Mt 22:37)
The second was to “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mt 22:39)
Let us go from this Remembrance Day service resolved to make these commands the goal of our lives.
The American poet George Santayana, once said
"Those who do not learn from history - are doomed to repeat it."
War is also a place where people find faith and others sadly lose it
Story: In March 2004, I was in the second bookshop in Dymchurch rummaging through the books when I came across a second hand Jerusalem Bible.
As I opened up the Bible, a number of loose leaf papers fell into my hand.
And on one of them was written a story.
It was obviously very meaningful to the previous owner, an elderly lady I gather because she had specially typed it out on a piece of paper.
And she had written this on the piece of paper that dropped into my hands that day:
“The following lines were discovered on the dead body of an American soldier killed in action in North Africa, in 1944. ]
They were found by a corporal in the Royal Army Medical Corps and were printed in a Tunis newspaper.
They found their way to Britain through the United States.