Revd Linda Whetter's Sermon for Remembrance Sunday, 14th November 2021

Remembrance Sunday 14 Nov. 2021 Ladock.In the Name of God The Father The Son and The Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 Remembrance Sunday is a difficult time for many, It brings us face to face with the suffering and death experienced by millions during the first and second world wars, – and the millions since, in wars and armed conflicts, all around our world. This annual act of remembrance gathers us together because, as well as the sacrifices of the past, we remember that men and women of today’s armed services continue to make extraordinary sacrifices – sometimes the ultimate sacrifice – in the cause of peace and for the preservation of justice and freedom.

 

I suspect that most of us – probably all of us – come to this day with deeply personal stories. And as we   approach Remembrance Sunday each year we become increasingly aware of the memorials to be found in so many of our towns and villages. Much of the time they almost go unnoticed, something that will no doubt increase with each passing generation. Here at   St.Ladoca the war memorial is a constant background to our worship.  We pass it each time we enter and leave the church, and today, concentrates our minds on     the men from this community who   enlisted and   did not come back.

 

  I am not sure how many of you have been to Westminster Abbey and passed the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, it moves me deeply. The image   of the 2 minute silence as   the body was brought into Westminster Abbey, passing through a guard of honour of 100 holders of the Victoria Cross.  In the Abbey, 100 women who had lost husbands or sons, watching as the coffin was buried under soil brought from the battlefields of Europe, is powerful. The story, speaks     of the dead of all the world wars, of all the departed. Treating that Unknown Soldier with the highest honour imaginable was a deep act of faith, it acknowledges that each one of us is created, held, and destined to live in all eternity in God’s love. Not every soldier could receive a similar burial and that was the point: the Unknown Soldier could represent all the others who gave their lives. Not because they were good or bad people or a mixture of both. Not because of their rank, in uniform or in society. Not because of their achievements, or lack of them. Not because they died fighting, or frozen in terror, but because each one of them was one of God’s children, precious in His sight, and worthy of honour and remembrance.

 

 Remembrance Sunday requires us to take notice of them, remembrance Sunday makes us stop, read the names, and remember that behind each one there was a person, a story, a family…and in every case, a tragedy. You can only imagine the grief, as in family after family; beloved members did not come back. Remembrance Sunday gathers together these countless human experiences of the bravery, sacrifice and anguish of war and violence. Remembrance Sunday   gathers all those stories into churches such as this, because we can   place them in the context of the Christian story, that violence and sacrifice does not have the last word. It doesn’t end there. Our hope lies in something more – God’s Kingdom, a new life. In the resurrection of Christ lies our hope that death and the grief that follows is not the end.

 

The men and women whom we remember today, the millions killed in armed conflict, fighting on The Frontline- of unimaginable horror- gave the gift of their lives in the cause of justice, peace and   freedom. If we are to strive for justice, peace and healing, it is absolutely incumbent upon us to guard their story, guard the freedom they fought and paid the ultimate price for, to ensure that they did not give their lives in vain.

 Our Lord suffered and died in The Supreme Act of Sacrificial Love. He died for each and everyone of us. We recall our Saviour’s words in St John: Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends.

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them, may they rest in peace and rise in glory.

 And may we always remember them.

Amen. 

                                                


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