Summary: A reflection on war and how we should give thanks for the sacrifice of others who have given their lives for our peace and reflecting on the Ultimate Sacrifice made by Jesus on the Cross. There is a short resume on the life of Nurse Edith Cavell.
Remembrance Sunday 2015 at WSG
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”
Our mind is that unique gift that reminds us that we are made in the image of God.
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 and 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.
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 time one hundred years ago we would have been into the second year of the First World War.
And it was 70 years ago that the Second World War ended.
But Remembrance Sunday It 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 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 and imagine playing a game of football 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."
In war many people found their faith – others lost it.
Other have become an inspiration to us
One such person was Edith Cavell, who was executed just over 100 years ago on 12th October 1915.
Edith Cavell was a 49 year old nurse, the daughter of a Norfolk vicar, who had lived and worked in Brussels for eight years.
Her early career had been as a governess but having qualified as a nurse she soon rose to prominence not only as a most capable and humane practitioner but as a person with great organizational and leadership abilities.
A follower of Florence Nightingale, Edith accepted an invitation from the Belgians in 1907 to run a training hospital and she set about establishing a new standard of nursing, and a professional class of dedicated nurses, in a country where that occupation had been the preserve of nuns.
In August of 1914 she was holidaying with her mother on the Norfolk coast when war was declared and in spite of the protestations of her family insisted on returning to her post.
That was typical of her devotion to duty, a quality most evident in the months following when Edith and her staff worked ceaselessly to save the lives of all wounded soldiers, allied and German alike.