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TALK FOR REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY 8TH NOVEMBER 2020

TALK FOR REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY 8TH NOVEMBER 2020

Talk:

Remembrance Sunday this year, along with most of the rest of the way of life at the moment, is very different. This can clearly be seen in this church where there are only six of us but throughout the country people will be making their own memorial and thinking of those who gave their lives in the two world wars and other conflicts. This year we are also aware of the NHS many of whose workers have a given of themselves in the battle against the coronavirus.

This year, in spite of everything, we have seen the 75thcommemoration of VE and VJ day. I found myself very moved by the veterans talking about their experiences, projected on to the walls of Horse Guards Parade. And there was Robin Rowland who lives in South Luffenham speaking about his time in Kohima. And there was pride on all their faces but also much pain.

Remembrance is not a glorification of war but thanks for the bravery of sacrifice. The poppy is used as a symbol of that gratitude as a flower of freedom and hope. They grow best on broken ground. After the poem that has become so familiar to us, ‘In Flanders’ Fields’, was published anonymously in ‘Punch’, women in France began making poppies and cornflowers (which also grew in the fields) to decorate the war graves. A lady called Madame Guerin saw something greater and campaigned to have the poppy accepted as a symbol of remembrance but she had no success in France. She continued her crusade and took it to London. The poppy now unites men and women in Britain like nothing else.

In our reading Jesus knows that he is on course to his death. He knew that he was not the warrior leader which so many of his contemporaries were expecting. That was not God’s way. Jesus told the disciples that the best and only way was the way of love. The disciples were his friends, in spite of everything that they had said and thought and everything that they would do before his resurrection; Peter would deny knowing him and the others would run away. Jesus still loved them and they loved him but that love would be tested over and over again. They would be called upon to lay down their lives but in the full knowledge that Jesus had laid down his life not only for them but also for each one of us. We need to cultivate the friendship of Jesus and it requires hard work. We need to listen to him and follow what he asks us to do. We may not be asked to lay down our lives for others but we need to support those who are.

One of the veterans of World War 1, Harry Patch, said:

I don’t think it is possible to truly explain the bond that is forged between a soldier in the trenches and his fellow soldiers. There you all are, no matter what your life in civvy street, covered in lice, desperately hungry, eking out the small treats – the ounce of tobacco, the biscuit. You relied on him and he on you, never really thinking that it was just the same for the enemy. But it was. It was every bit as bad.’

The opposite of war is peace and the opposite of remembering is forgetting. Only through remembering will peace be achieved. The service at the Cenotaph in London is very different this year with crowds banned and only about 26 people allowed but the symbolism will not be lost. I had forgotten that the meaning of ‘cenotaph’ is an empty tomb. There was another empty tomb near Jerusalem two thousand years ago. After a humiliating, brutal death which he endured as an innocent man, Christ had risen, as we sing every Easter. It is that empty tomb which gives us hope in the knowledge that eternal life can be ours. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the cenotaphs could be a sign of world wide peace and signify the resurrection for everyone?

I’d like to read a poem written by Nick Fawcett. He had visited the war graves in Flanders and found one which had his name on it. He wrote afterwards:

How did you feel that morning

When the call up papers came through?

Did your blood run cold or excitement take hold

At the thought that your country needs you?

 

How did you feel that morning

When the time came to set off from home?

Did you conquer your fears or break down in tears

With the loved ones you’d soon leave alone?

 

How did you feel that morning

When you first set foot in the trench?

Did you brush it aside or wish you could hide

From the horror, the carnage, the stench?

 

How did you feel that morning

When they sent you over the top?

Did you shout with relief or in sheer disbelief

Vainly pray the nightmare would stop?

 

How did you feel that morning

When the bullets started to fly?

Did you think even then that you might cheat death again

Or did you know you were going to die?

 

How did you feel that morning

As the life blood slipped slowly away?

Did you try to make sense of these crazy events

Or with one final breath try to pray?

 

How do I feel this morning

In the face of such slaughter and sorrow?

Do I just stand aghast as I think of the past

Or give all for a better tomorrow?

Only by all of us playing our part will everlasting peace be found.

Prayer:

Lord of peace, send us out to be beacons of peace in a dark world of conflict.

Make us instruments of peace for whoever we meet and wherever we go, in the name of the Prince of Peace.

Amen.

 

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices.   Sunday 8th November 2020:

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices.   Sunday 8th November 2020:

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices.

 Sunday 8th November 2020:  Remembrance Sunday.

 

  • Please remember in your prayers those who are sick: Janette Saunders, Ann Hensby and those whose operations have been postponed again.
  • Zoom services continue today at 10.55am.
  • Next week there will be only one Zoom Service at 11 am as a result of Lockdown 2.
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Mondays, Wednesdays and now Fridays at 8.30am.  Compline will be restarted on Thursdays at 6pm from 12 November as well as Sundays in Advent beginning on 29th
  • The Rev’d Dr. Carys Walsh’s presentation on  S.Thomas will now be on Zoom at 2pm on 12 November. If you would like an invitation – or to order the Advent book – please let The Priest-in-Charge know on 01572 748634 or chris.armstrong60@yahoo.com

SOUTH LUFFENHAM:

  • Although we will not be holding services in Church this month we will still be open every day for private remembrance and prayer. 
  • Thank you to the people who have offered to decorate their window for Advent. We now have volunteers for every day. Look out for details nearer the time. 
A close up of a flower on a table

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A close up of a brick building

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Thanks to Sue and Janet for the Remembrance flowers

This Week’s Meditation: Hope:  In the last few weeks the fields around us have turned from gold to brown as the farmer puts in the plough and the autumn sun glints off the mouldboard smoothness.  Other fields have turned further, from brown to green as next year’s crop asserts its new life.

 

As soon as the harvest is over the farmers are busy ploughing and sowing, confident that nature’s new year will work its magic and produce our food once more. There is an expectation that nature can be depended upon. Yes, a few weeds might also appear but a fine crop of corn is expected. St. Paul puts this process under the microscope and reports that the crop which is to be will look nothing like the seed which is being sown. It comes to life in a completely new form.

 

So it must have been with those young men and women who risked all for what they hoped would be a better future for us all. They sacrificed their freedom as individuals so that we might enjoy a greater freedom in the future.  (That is precisely what the government is urging us all to do in this latest lockdown: restraining ourselves for a better tomorrow.)

 

Of course we might have doubts: doubts about the quality of next year’s crop; doubts about the defeat of CORVID -19 – just as those young soldiers may have had doubts about the chance of victory.

 

Some of us might be airily optimistic but hope rests on more than a whim. Hope rests on the nature of God who brings victory out of suffering. For Christians, hope turns on the resurrection of Christ who brings surprising new life out of a grisly death. In the Lord’s Prayer we hope for daily necessities (“give us this day our daily bread”) and universal redemption (“thy kingdom come”). The trials that beset us now are as nothing to the life which is to come, both now and hereafter if we place our hope in Christ.

 

See wellandfosse.org for much more information, including contact details for The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong and the churchwardens