Two Bible verses used at this time of Remembrance remind us that God is always with us and Jesus promises his peace.

‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.’ Psalm 46:1

‘Peace I leave you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’  John 14:27

‘Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.’ Perhaps we recall reciting this verse as children near to Bonfire Night and the excitement of fireworks and refreshments. A fun night for children to remember; but what about us as we grew older and the following words of remembrance came into focus.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.

We will remember, not with celebration, fireworks, food, but remember with poignancy, reflection, personal loss, wars and conflicts of the last and present century.

This year we cannot fail to be aware of the conflicts in the Ukraine, Israel and Gaza where many lives and homes are being destroyed.

About 10 years ago I travelled on a cruise that visited The White Sea. We had a sensitive service on deck to remember those who had been involved the Arctic Convoys of World War 2 and a wreath was dropped into the ocean in remembrance. It was cold and windy in Summer so what the sailors must have experienced in the freezing winters and ships covered in ice it was hard to imagine. During visits to Murmansk and Archangel we were able to visit British War Graves. The Russian police halted traffic so our coaches could visit and park at these cemeteries. What chance now of such events taking place. 

Remember, remember young men and women uprooted from their homes and families to experience the horrors of war, fighting for a cause but seeking peace instead of aggression and oppression; so many memories for those who experienced these events and for their families. We also remember the hostilities where innocent lives were lost in Korea, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, The Falklands War, The Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan. We remember survivors of conflicts suffering mental and physical injury and their difficulties continuing in the forces or accommodating into civilian life. Remember.

Yes, we remember, not to glorify war nor to appoint blame for the strife but to hope and pray for peace. Peace of heart, mind and soul, of forgiveness. We pray for tangible peace between peoples, nations, faiths. We wear poppies in remembrance of the poppies that grew in profusion in the destructive horrors of Flanders fields in World War One. A poppy made by former service personnel needing support. We remember those who endured all conflicts and we pray for Peace, for Others, for Pardon, for Positivity, for Youth facing their futures. The POPPY a symbol of remembrance and of hope.

Remembrance Sunday: a focus to remember but hope and pray for a peaceful future.

Peace be with you.

Vivienne Lear