Saturday, 12 November 2011

Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance 2011


Reader 1
Hear these words of the New Testament from John’s gospel
Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Reader 2
Hear these words of the New Testament from the letter of James

The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace

Reader 3
Hear these word of the New Testament from the first letter of John

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.

This is the word of the Lord.

Gospel John 15

9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.

11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

13 Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit— fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

17 This is my command: Love each other.


Jesus in John 15 is talking about love. He says God loves him and he loves us. If you love someone, you want to do what pleases them. If you know something upsets someone you love, you want to try not to do it. That’s what love is all about. That’s what follows from loving another person.

And so, when Jesus asks us to love him, it follows that we will want to do what he commands us to do, just like he himself does God’s will. Love each other, he says, as I have loved you.

Christianity is not complicated. It’s not hard to understand. Doesn’t take months of study, or a degree to discover what it teaches. No, it’s simple. Love God. Love one another. Treat others just as you would want them to treat you. Simples – as the meerkat would say.

Sadly, life doesn’t always work out as it should. Instead of love, there is conflict in the world. Instead of friendship and neighbourliness there can be misunderstanding. Instead of love, there can be resentment, even hatred.

In these situations, Jesus still asks us, out of love for him, to follow his commands. What are they?

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says this:

38 You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'

39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

War, then, is a failure. Not something to be glorified or desired. But that does not mean we should not remember those who fought for the freedoms we all enjoy. We should give thanks for their sacrifice. We should remember them. Not only those who fought in WW2 but all the other conflicts that have occurred since then with unfortunate regularity.

So when Jesus says:

13 Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

…he is not saying that dying for others is a good thing. He is not glorifying martyrdom. But he is recognising that the ultimate sacrifice sometimes has to be made, through the sin of us all in failing to live as he would have us live.

He himself is an example, being tortured and dying on the cross. He did not have to die. Salvation and atonement was freely offered by God through grace. But, through the sin of evil people, Jesus did die, and the result for us is forgiveness of sins, through faith in him.

So that’s the message of remembrance Sunday. Not glorifying war, but remembering the sacrifices of those caught up in it, so that we may be free, and hopefully work to avoid it in future.

So now let us affirm our faith, and pray for those who continue to suffer as a result of conflict. Amen


Let us pray for all who suffer as a result of conflict,
and ask that God may give us peace:
for the service men and women
who have died in the violence of war,
each one remembered by and known to God;
may God give peace.
All God give peace.
For those who love them in death as in life,
offering the distress of our grief
and the sadness of our loss;
may God give peace.
All God give peace.
For all members of the armed forces
who are in danger this day,
remembering family, friends
and all who pray for their safe return;
may God give peace.
All God give peace.
For women, children and men
whose lives are disfigured by war or terror,
calling to mind in penitence
the anger and hatreds of humanity;
may God give peace.
All God give peace.
For peacemakers and peacekeepers,
who seek to keep this world secure and free;
may God give peace.
All God give peace.
For all who bear the burden and privilege of leadership,
political, military and religious;
asking for gifts of wisdom and resolve
in the search for reconciliation and peace;
may God give peace.
All God give peace.

O God of truth and justice,
we hold before you those whose memory we cherish,
and those whose names we will never know.
Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this broken world,
and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm.
As we honour the past,
may we put our faith in your future;
for you are the source of life and hope,
now and for ever.
All Amen.

All Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.


God grant to the living grace,
to the departed rest,
to the Church, the Queen, the Commonwealth and all people,
unity, peace and concord,
and to us and all God’s servants,
life everlasting;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
All Amen.

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