November is the month when we remember; it starts with All Saints Day when we remember all those people who are God’s Saints but who have never been acknowledged. This is followed on 2nd November when we remember all our past relations, friends and benefactors who have died. And then on 11th November and on Remembrance Sunday this year on the 13th November we remember all those who have given their lives in two world wars and in many other conflicts since including Suez, Korea, Vietnam, The Falklands, The Gulf, Bosnia, Iraq and where they continue to do so in Afghanistan
Some people take the view that Remembrance Sunday is jingoistic but I believe that it is important to our present generation that we remind them of the great sacrifice made when men and women laid down their lives in the service of their country and which they continue to do in Afghanistan, for example. We might totally disagree with war nevertheless those who died are entitled to, and are deserving, of our prayers.
Those of us who lived through the terror of the Second World War remember the nights when enemy bombers did their best to destroy our country. We remember the sadness when someone we knew was killed in the air raids or who didn’t come back from the war. These people were parents, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters. Those of us who have visited the War Cemeteries and have seen the rows and rows of war graves understand that a generation of young men died in World War 1 defeating the expansionist policy of a corrupt empire and in World War 2 in defeating the evil of the Hitler Regime.
But if Remembrance Sunday is to be purposeful it must be the time when we recommit ourselves to work and pray for peace in our world. Our prayers are to a God “from whom all truth and peace proceed” a God who alone can bring his peace, a peace that passes all human understanding, into a world still torn apart by war.
I will be the first to support the abolition of Remembrance Sunday when all nations renounce nuclear and other weapons, when as the prophet says swords are turned into ploughs. Until that day comes we need to remind ourselves of the evil of war, the destruction and death and injury it causes. And to pray for those, our friends but also our enemies, who out of time, lost their lives that they may rest in peace and rise in glory.