Autumn time with its colours and abundance of fruits has its own way of reminding us to be thankful for both the harvest of the land and sea, but also for all those who have risked so much for our freedoms.
On 4 August 1918 King George V, the Queen’s grandfather, met to pray with members of the Houses of Parliament as part of a National Day of Prayer. One hundred days later, the war ended on 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
Sadly, war has been a feature of human history since records began. World War 1 was supposed to be …..‘the war to end all wars….’. I found the statistic that since 3600 BC the world has only known 292 years of peace. There have been 14,351 wars since then and as the book I found this in was published about 14 years ago… that figure is still increasing.
What shines through the darkness of statistics like this are the stories of courage and the example of those who are willing to bring the light of Christ into seemingly hopeless situations. It is in hearing these stories that we can remember them with thankful hearts, but also to strengthen our resolve to work and to pray for peace for future generations.
Since 1918, this quotation … ‘Love one another as Jesus first loved us. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’… from John 15: verses 12 & 13 began to appear on war memorials, commemorating those who had died. Many had indeed given their lives in battle in the hope that others might be saved.
A century on, these verses can be reclaimed so that we too might be able to live out Jesus’ words… but in peace, rather than in war. That instead of dying in battle for others, we might live our lives in service that emulates Christ’s life. Our call is to live a life of love, loving one another as Christ first loved us and to pray for lasting peace.
Our annual church Remembrance service will be on Sunday 10th November. I hope we will be joined by our local uniformed children’s groups and that they will take part in the service.
‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’
What will that look like for you and for me?
With every blessing