Lest we forget. We are reminded every time we enter All Saints Church of the impact of war as we pass the Portland stone memorial . There is always seems to be a poppy or cross in the earth beside it. We do not need to wait for November 11th to remember.
When we remember 1918, however, especially in this year of 2018, we reflect on a time of great hope and great sadness for our country . We recall the horrors of war and the darkness that drives humanity into violence . We remember all the victims of that war both on the battlefields and at home.
But we also remember the promise of peace . On the 4th August 1918, in a National Day of Prayer, many in this country came together with King George V to pray for peace. One hundred days later, the Great War ended.
But that has not been the end of war for our country . The Great War was not the ‘war to end all wars’. No member of the British armed forces has been killed on active operations in only two years since 1918, in 1968 and 2016.
But on Remembrance Day, we remember not only those who have died or suffered from our own country as a result of conflict, but those in other parts of the world.
On the Remembrance 100.co.uk website, there is a log-on facility which enables anyone, every day, to have access to personal stories from members of the armed forces and from civilian victims of war. Here is one of them.
A colleague, who runs Bible Society in Syria, shared this message and verse with us. ‘Our part of Aleppo had been under a merciless siege for almost three years. We were used to shells and barrel-bombs, and the endless screaming of people who had been injured or lost loved ones. But one afternoon when I was standing on the balcony of our home, there was an incredible bang. The whole building shook violently and I was shaking along with it as I sobbed convulsively. Then I suddenly felt still, as Jesus was speaking to me in his consoling and encouraging way with this verse. At that moment I knew that God is good and that he doesn’t leave us alone. Jesus is there to give us peace in a world of struggle and war and he has overcome the whole world!’
And this is the prayer that followed.
Loving Heavenly Father, in our fractured world please bring your peace. We lift up our brothers and sisters around the world who live and work in war torn countries, that they will shine as beacons of your peace to everyone around them. Protect and surround them with your love, we pray.
You may like to use this prayer yourself because it is a prayer for all members of the family of God, wherever they are and whatever their beliefs. And it is a prayer for ourselves, that we too may shine as beacons of peace in our world.
Rev Betty Port