Thought for the Month November 2023

Do we Remember?

This weekend has seen Remembrance Day Services and commemorations throughout the country and beyond. People have come together to remember those who have lost their lives in the service of others, Men and Women who have sacrificed their lives in pursuit of a better world where justice and freedom prevail.

Alongside that we have seen demonstrations calling for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid in Gaza. Leaving aside for the moment the mindless thugs and agitators whose only motive is to seek to bring mayhem and disorder into any peaceful situation, whilst there will, of course, be some who will have raw and understandably angry feelings of injustice (on both sides) the vast majority of the demonstrators, I’m sure have a heartfelt desire to see peace, and ultimately a reconciliation that leads to both Israelis and Palestinians being able to live in peace and security. Currently this would seem to be an enormous, some would say an insurmountable task.

There are many who feel, however justified these protests may be, they should not have happened on the one day reserved for the remembrance of those who have die in conflict and I understand that sentiment. Yet, in their way, both remind us of the futility and dreadful cost of war and conflict, whatever it’s original cause.

There is a line from a Rudyard Kipling poem written in 1897 called ‘Recessional’ which is now synonymous with Remembrance Day, the line is ‘Lest we Forget’

The Following poem below speaks for itself

Poem:               The Inquisitive Mind of a Child (John F Wilcox)

The Inquisitive Mind of a Child

Why are they selling Poppies, mummy?

Selling poppies in town today

The poppies, child are flowers of love

For the men who marched away.

But, why have they chosen a poppy, mummy?

Why not a beautiful rose?

Because, my child, men fought and died

In the fields where the poppies grow.

But why are the poppies so red?

Red is the colour of blood, my child

The blood our soldiers shed.

The heart of the poppy is black, mummy

Why does it have to be black?

Black, my child, is the symbol of grief

For the men who never came back.

But, why mummy, are you crying so?

Your tears are giving you pain.

My tears are my fears for you my child

For the world is – FORGETTING AGAIN

This poem, Remembrance Day, Israel and Gaza, Ukraine and many other conflicts in the world should be wake up calls to us all.

Surely we cannot let the lives sacrificed in so many conflicts be lost in vain!

In our service the week before Remembrance Sunday, Penny Bloom spoke to us about building bridges. How Jesus has built a bridge between us and God and how we should build bridges between each other. Jesus commanded us to Love one another (see John 15: 9-17). Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians said:

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor. 13:13 N.I.V.)

I believe the reason Love is the greatest, is because without love, there is no hope and without hope, there is no faith.

I pray we will all find love, hope and faith in abundance and that we will share it with all our strength, building bridges – however small- between Families, Communities and Nations. In Jesus name. Amen.

Fergal Keane has written an article about bridge building between two writers, one Israeli and one Palestinian that started before the current conflict – it’s worth a read.