When I worked at Westminster Central Hall, Remembrance Sunday was (and still is) a big occasion. Firstly round the corner was the Cenotaph and the huge crowds that gathered there for the State Remembrance. Getting into the Hall for our Sunday Service was difficult as the roads were all closed. But during the service when we had the two minute silence we had BIG BEN literally outside the window to mark the beginning of the quiet. Of course the bells have now been silenced for the next few years to protect the ears of the workers repairing the Tower but I expect they will ring for Remembrance Sunday for it is too important a day not to be marked in this way.
Also at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month if it wasn’t the Sunday we would gather on the balcony of the Hall opposite BIG BEN and observe the two minute silence then too. I’m sure it will all still happen but I am now many miles away and only have my memories.
That is what Remembrance is about – memories, we do it every time we have communion, we break bread and remember what Jesus did and said, we do it when we meet together and recall past times and shared experiences and we do through anniversaries and special occasions when we give thanks for all that is past and trust in God for all that is still to come.
I wasn’t born and therefore do not remember the two world wars but I certainly have lived in a world that is full of conflict and I have met people who have served in action and families who have had loved ones in the armed forces. The Paralympics and Invictus Games were an opportunity for some of those severely injured in conflict to use their now disability to show incredible courage and determination.
I long for a time when war will be no more, but recognise the reality that we live in a world where war and conflict is a reality. May this Remembrance Sunday be a time of repentance, of thanksgiving and of prayer as we honour those who gave their lives and hold bereaved families in our prayers and as we give thanks for those who still offer themselves to try to keep peace in a world that needs it so much.
Two minutes is not a long time to be quiet, reflect and to remember – but in doing so we collectively offer a prayer of hope that things will be better and that no sacrifice will be in vain when peace is the goal.
Peace giving God, who offers us a peace beyond human understanding and an absence of war, come to our hearts and still us as you stilled the storm. May the peace we receive and offer to you and others change the world and bring about your kingdom values.
Download this Prayer for the Week here.
Prayers for November written by Denise Creed.
Picture: free image from internet.