Summary: Memories - how can we use them
Remembrance Sunday 2005
Let us pray:
DEAR LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER - HELP US REMEMBER -- HOW DIFFERENT IT WAS -- FOR MEN AND WOMEN DURING THE WAR.
HELP US TO REMEMBER WHAT THEY GAVE UP SO THAT WE MAY ENJOY PEACE TODAY.
AND HELP US HONOUR THEIR MEMORY -- BY LEARNING THE LESSONS OF HISTORY. AMEN
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”
How wonderful it is to remember - that "God is our refuge and strength - a very help in trouble."
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 you fell in love, got married, & had children all over again.
You can remember – because those memories that are fixed in your mind.
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.
I think that the Remembrance Day 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.
It reminds us that the peace that we have enjoyed for the last 60 or so years here in Great Britain was not bought cheaply.
And it gives us an opportunity to say “Thank you” for the sacrifice that so many made, with their lives, with the scars of war so that we in the United Kingdom can enjoy peace
Many of you still have vivid memories of the war – and of fallen comrades and friends
In war many people found their faith – others lost 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 the Bible up, a number of papers fell into my hand.
On one of them was written a story. It was obviously very meaningful to the previous owner, an elderly lady because she had specially typed it out on a piece of paper.
And she had written this:
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.
A friend of the writer of these lines, who was with him when they were written (and who survived the battle in which the writer was killed) said the soldier was a thoroughly wild character, but there were tears running down his face as he wrote these lines.
“Look, God, I have never spoken to you,
And now I want to say: “ How do you do?”.
You see, God, they told me you didn’t exist,
And I, like a fool, believed all this.
Last night, from a shell hole, I saw your sky,
And I figured then they had told me a lie.
I wonder, God, if you’d take my poor hand?
Somehow I feel you would understand.
Strange I had to come to this hellish place
Before I had time to see your face.
Wel1, I guess there isn’t much more to say:
But I’m glad, God, that I met you today
The zero hour will soon be here
But I’m not afraid; because you are near.
The signal has come, I shall soon have to go
I like you lots - this I want you to know.
I am sure this’ll be a horrible fight:
Who knows? I may come to your House tonight.
Though I wasn’ t friendly to you before,
I wonder, God, if You’d wait at Your door?
Look, I’m shedding tears, me shedding tears!
Oh! How I wish I’d known you those long, long years
Well, I have to go now, dear God. Goodbye
But now that I’ve met you, I’m not scared to die.”
As we remember in this Service today – the cost to millions of our servicemen and women – of that peace that we enjoy today – may I ask you to think remember further back – to a man who hanged on a Cross – so that you may have peace with God today.
Thank God that we don’t have to go “to that hellish place” that that young American Soldier wrote about before he had “time to see God’s face”