Remembering as a wider act
Like many colleagues in ministry I shall tread the tightrope of remembrance today. I shall try my best neither to tread on the side of militarism, nor to belittle the sacrifices of those who serve and have served. I shall lead prayers for those who serve, for those who command at home and overseas and for the families they leave behind. In doing so, I shall try to be respectful without being naive, and to express a longing for peace whilst recognising the reality of war.
One of the key dangers is that Remembrance Day is purely retrospective, as if wars were a thing of the past. Sadly, they are not. They will be part of our present until children stop fighting unbidden over toys in the nursery and men grow rich selling arms. As I sit and contemplate all this over a peaceful cup of tea, a voice intrudes from the BBC correspondent in Damascus:
Knowing that death may take us at any moment, we have learned to appreciate our time together, spending quality time whenever possible.The bonds have become stronger.We laugh, despite our obvious sadness. We laugh as a way of survival. We make jokes about death. We laugh to keep hold of the good memories.We hold hands, supporting one another, telling each other we are here, standing firm together.But soon we are overtaken again by what is happening around us. When we say our goodbyes, we leave knowing that one of us might be missing the next day.I think of moments of love.There are still lovers holding hands in the streets; young boys and girls standing on a side road under a tree, stealing moments of passion. I smile thinking there is hope. Every emotion becomes so intense in times of war.
You can read the whole article here. Wars are fought by the soldiers but experienced by whole communities.
Today we remember…so many.