We hope this last week has been a good one for you, on balance anyway, & that you have escaped the worst of the storms.
Remembrance Sunday – another special November day – comes round again. We hope the reflections are helpful – there are so many to choose between. Whilst there is always a focus on remembering those who died in the two 20th century World Wars, remembrance can have a much wider application so our choices range across different aspects. Obviously, we are very mindful of the current conflicts in the Middle East & in Ukraine.
The blessing this week is from Margaret Rizza’s Fire of Love, simply called ‘A Blessing’. Let’s share it with whoever we want to remember – perhaps someone known to you who is recently bereaved.
With our love & prayer
A SONNET FOR REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY
November pierces with its black remembrance
Of all the bitterness and waste of war.
Our silence tries but fails to make a semblance
Of that lost peace they thought worth fighting for.
Our silence seeths instead with wraiths and whispers,
And all the restless rumours of new wars,
The shells are singing as we sing our vespers,
No moment is unscarred, there is no pause,
In every instant bloodied innocence
Falls to the weary earth, and whilst we stand
Quiescence ends again in acquiescence,
And Abel’s blood still cries in every land.
One silence only might redeem that blood
Only the silence of a dying God.
A Jewish Prayer of Remembrance
P J Schwantz
In the rising of the sun, and in its going down, we remember them.
From the moment I wake till I fall asleep, all that I do is remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them.
On the frigid days of winter and the moments I breathe the cold air, I warm myself with their embrace, and remember them.
In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.
As the days grow longer and the outside becomes warmer, I am more awake and I remember them.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.
When I look above and see the images of the clouds and when I am comforted by the sun that shines down on me, I remember them.
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them.
From the time in which I feel the cool, crisp breeze and see the colors of the leaves, I remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them.
On the day I make resolutions for myself and on the day I reflect upon how I’ve grown, I remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.
As I am faced with challenges that enter my life, I remember all that they taught me, and remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them.
When I have gone astray and feel uncomfortable, I ask for help and remember them.
When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them.
From those times of celebration, love, and happiness, I remember them.
So long as they live, we, too, shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
On every day, and in every way, I know that they are with me and I remember them.
A Prayer of Remembering
In the presence of the God of Freedom,
the people who have stood firm,
those who have not turned away,
those who have taken risks,
who have laid their own lives on the line.
The campaigners, the changemakers,
the lovers of truth, of peace, of justice.
Those who have faced their fears,
who have broken the silence and stood firm
in the face of tyranny, persecution and the lust for power.
Those who have shamed racism and the many ‘isms’
which are used to ‘excuse’ human prejudice.
We shout out their names and honour their courage:
Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth,
And all those who liberated themselves and helped
others on the road to freedom.
We pause and give thanks for all those whose names we don’t know
But whose struggles and triumphs we honour.
In the presence of the God of Freedom, Truth & Justice,
we remember them.
Remembrance beats at the heart of Christianity and, in fact, in most other faiths. It connects each generation with the communion of saints through the power of the Holy Spirit. We too will be remembered even after we are gone. The connection we feel with those who have gone before us enlivens our acts of remembrance, evoking our gratitude for having been part of their lives. The best examples maybe of their courage, compassion, justice and generosity continue to inspire us. Yet beyond personal remembrance, there are also past examples of which we are not proud, things we hope will never be repeated, things we must learn from. ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
We mark Remembrance Sunday in the hope that we will remember the costliness of war, costliness in many senses, not only the wars of the last century but also the smaller yet deadly conflicts of this century. For it surely seems there are lessons yet to be learnt while violent conflicts take repeated tolls on human communities and the very fabric of God’s creation.