Friday, 6 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday

The sermon below may seem very simple. there are various reasons for this - there is so much that could be said on Remembrance Sunday, but actually so many people are lost in their own thoughts and find it hard to listen; there is always a timing issue, so that the 2 minutes' silence comes at the right point; and the service I'm leading will have (who knows how many) brownies, cubs & scouts in it, so I don't want to 'go on' too much.
And in any case, I'm a fairly simple soul...

Remembrance : Isaiah 52: 7-12 Romans 8: 31-39

After about half an hour here in the church we’re going to gather outside to read the names on the war memorial, and to stand for 2 minutes’ silence.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet and the British Legion ‘Roll of Honour’ we can find out a lot about the men whose names are on the memorial.
There are 15 men who died in the First world war & 9 who died in the Second world war.
They’re called ‘world wars’ because so many countries were involved, and that means that those young men from Duxford died in many different countries and places.
In the first world war, 9 died in France, and 4 in Belgium, but there was also one who died in Egypt and 2 who died in Iraq (which was then called Mesopotamia).
In the second world war, 3 died in the UK (many RAF pilots in particular died in training) 2 at sea (1 of those was on a submarine), and 1 each in Egypt, Burma, Germany, and Italy.

What a long way from home some of them were, fighting for our country and its freedom. It’s important that we remember that they weren’t just names, but that they were people, with homes and families and friends.
One reason for our act of remembrance is to pause and give thanks for those who laid down their lives for others. There is no doubt that their sacrifice made life and freedom possible: that they fought for peace, just as our forces are fighting for peace in Iraq and Afghanistan today.

Our Bible readings talked about peace and war, and God’s presence.

The prophet Isaiah talks about a time when war will be over, when the watchmen, instead of seeing enemy armies arriving over the hill, will announce that peace has come. Then people will know that God is looking after them.
But it isn’t just when there’s peace that we know God is there. Paul’s letter to the Romans states that whether we are experiencing peace or conflict, life or death, God never abandons us. ‘Nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God’

And better than that, Paul expresses his faith that God can change death into eternal life.
‘God did not spare his only son, but gave him up for us all’.

The death of Jesus Christ shows us the amazing depth of God’s love; and the resurrection of Jesus shows us the astounding power of God’s love – greater than death, great enough to bring all of us safely through death to eternal life.

So our remembrance today should teach us to be thankful.
• Thankful to those who have laid down their lives for others.
• Thankful that peace can come
• And thankful that God’s love is with us always.

In Jesus’ name.
Amen.

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