Reflection for Remembrance Sunday.

by Amanda

New Testament Reading: 1 Corinthians 15: 50-58

Gospel Reading: St John 6: 37-40

Window by Douglas Strachan at the Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle.

Why do we remember? At it’s simplest we remember because it is the way we learn, the way we retain what is safe and good and useful, or dangerous and scary, best avoided. Because we are human remembering is also how we connect, with places, with people – it is how we build relationships, make families and friendships. Our memories are how we build our lives, and even when someone beings to loose those memories we remember who their experiences have made them, and they are held in God’s memory always.

At this season of the year we do a lot of remembering on a church-wide and a national scale and today we remember all who fought and died in war. And not only them but all who returned from active service forever changed, those who waited in vain for their loved one to return, those who worked on the home front and all the civilians who perished too, in both world wars and the conflicts since.

We remember because in this way we learn, to live to the full in the peace that was brought by this suffering and conflict, to build on the chance for co-operation so that peace is not just an absence of war, and to value the deep friendships that have been forged by such extreme experiences of courage, endurance and sacrifice. 

We remember because of what war costs in terms of lives changed and lost, and we remember because of the respect we owe to those who, in military or civilian life, put aside all the plans and expectations that they had about their lives in order to be of service.

As Christians we can see in this self-giving a connection to Jesus’ total self-giving in the incarnation, the Word of God setting aside his eternal glory to be born and live and die to show the Father’s love for us. As we read in Philippians 2, “Christ Jesus was in the form of God, but he did not cling to equality with God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and was born in human likeness.”

Jesus came to us in great humility, to offer us the fulness of life that relationship with God brings, through the challenges and joys that are part of each day of our journey. And he also offered a life that stretches beyond our experience in this world, into the eternal presence of God, unimaginable to us now except that there is room for everyone, and each of us is known and loved. In the ancient belief of Israel the dead went down to the grave, to sheol, where there was no light or feeling, memory or words. ‘For in death no-one remembers you, and who will give you thanks in the grave,’ says psalm 6, addressing God. In order to be remembered the ancient Jews hoped for children to ‘keep their name alive’ as it were, to speak their name when they were gone. We who remember those who died or were changed by conflict here today have a greater hope, a hope that began to be noticed before Jesus made it manifest, present and visible in his life and death and resurrection. 

There are many reasons why we make our act of remembrance each year, but over all of them we are reminded that we are all held in the remembrance of God, where nothing is lost or spoilt, where the great mystery is revealed and every tear is dried. In our gospel reading Jesus reminds his hearers that the will of the Father who sent him into our world is that all who come to him will never be turned away. This promise is for our life here and now, and for our life beyond the door of death, where the sting of death cannot separate us from the love of God, and where the victory of God’s love is complete and everlasting, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.