Here we are at Remembrance Sunday.
We use all kinds of things to help us remember; anniversaries are perhaps the main one. Anniversaries happen every year; a day that we put aside to remember something: birthdays, marriages, crisis’ and deaths. We use anniversaries to help us remember good things and bad things.
This year is the 98th year since the outbreak of WW1.
This year also sees…
The 11th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan.
The 67th Anniversary of VE day when the Nazis finally surrendered.
There will be people here today who will remember where they were on that glorious day.
And 12 days since the deaths of Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter and Lance Corporal Siddhanta Kunwar, shot dead by a man wearing an Afghan police uniform.
Edward leaves behind him, to remember and honour him, his mother, father, and sister.
Siddhanta leaves behind him, to remember and honour him, his father, step mother, four sisters and brother.
We remember because of people like Edward and Siddhanta, willing to risk their lives for ours. We remember because of the many, many, too many to count and know, who were willing to risk all they had to save all they loved.
Except of course many of you do know some of those people; your loved ones, your family, your friends. And we join together, to remember together, because together we live in the freedom and peace that they fought to keep and protect. We join together to remember and in so doing we honour those that gave all that they did.
We honour their lives, all of them who have fought and fallen in active service, by remembering them and hoping, hoping, hoping that we will come to our senses and peace might reign.
That peace is in our voices and our hands, it begins with us, and is up to us. It is in our hands, our children’s hands and our grandchildren’s hands; if only we have the courage to face ourselves and reach for peace.
I’m well aware that that is easy to say and what comes next, what that means and how we might do it, is not so easy.
We avoid facing it because deep down we know it will cost us perhaps more than we are willing to give.
And that is why we must eep remembering.
To honour those who fell in war – yes.
And in the hope that such remembering will provoke us towards peace. That in remembering we might be brave enough to face our own issues that stand in the way of peace. That in remembering we might become the means of peace between us, and with those whom we call our enemies.
Jesus leads the way for us as he speaks about the Kingdom of God. He is saying, to those who can hear, be like this and the Kingdom of God has arrived. Be like this and you are in the Kingdom of God. Be like this and you are the Kingdom of God.
But how do we live like this, reflecting God’s Kingdom?
We begin by putting our trust in Christ, we begin by following in his footsteps, so that we are ready to strive day by day for peace. Such is the Kingdom of God and such are the people who dwell in it.
Jesus leads the way because he, though he was in very nature God, laid it all down, indeed, laid down his life for us, that we might know peace in our lives, in our communities and in our world.
And today we remember those who continue to lay down their lives in the pursuit of peace. As we remember them, we would do well to consider how we will live our lives in the pursuit of peace.
Peace in our homes, peace in our communities and peace with the stranger.
By acknowledging that peace starts in our hands, we can be those who display the hope, love and peace of the Kingdom of God.