“The Lord is our help and our strength, therefore we will not fear” [Psalm 46]
The names on our War Memorial have been typed out,printed, and displayed on the Pillars outside the church. It is important for these names to be seen by all, so that their sacrifice is never lost. I came across this thought about Remembering from an article on the net by Rev. Paul White and it underlines the need for us to remember.
“A couple of years ago in my previous parish I named aloud all the service men and women who had died in Iraq in the preceding ten years. At that point it was over 300 names and it took about 20 minutes just to read their names. One or two people complained that it was a bit long and dull and, of course, it was but the point is that those young people had sacrificed their lives in the service of their country – they and their families had given up everything and all we are asked is to give up 20 minutes on a Sunday morning to remember them. Sometimes we have to put aside our desire to be entertained in order to do something serious for the sake of someone other than ourselves.
When we go to the war memorial in the cemetery in a short while we shall name some of the fallen men out loud in the presence of each other and in the presence of God and their names are ever on the memorial and here in church.
Having named them we also seek to honour them by standing in silence. In the midst of our lives of constant chatter, noise and busyness our willingness to be still and to be silent for the sake of the memory of others is in many ways the most profound and meaningful thing we can offer them.
The men we are remembering, putting back together, here today each made the ultimate sacrifice: They left their homes and family in this peaceful corner of the world, received short basic training, crossed the channel in crowded troopships and were eventually killed in the hell-on-earth that was the trenches and battlefields. They gave up their lives doubtless for a variety of motives – yes, some out of love for their friends and comrades, some for love of family, some for duty to King and Country.
I am sure that none of them left these shores either expecting or wanting to die – in the early days of the wars they probably expected a swift adventure followed by a heroes’ return – but when the reality of war became apparent, they still did their duty and they never returned alive to home or to family. Most of them were buried in the huge cemeteries near the battlefields and some were never able to be buried at all. Our naming of those men in this place both on the war memorial and out loud this morning and at every Remembrance Sunday is, in many ways, the only homecoming that they can ever receive.”
I find that most moving and for us here in Condorrat most appropriate as the names once spoken out loud are brought home to each of us that there were real people behind each name. we give thanks to God for their sacrifice and endeavour to live up to the Hope they had for Peace in our land.
LET US PRAY
God grant us the grace to remember with all humility those whose sacrifice was greatest.
Grant to those who have survived conflict with visible or hidden wounds healing and support.
Grant our nation with a sense of gratitude for our freedoms so hard won.
We ask in Jesus Name. AMEN
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