November is a month of remembrances which begins with All Saints and All Souls days, but this year the focus of our remembrance is the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. The armistice, signed at 11o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 ended, what was then called, the Great War, thought then to be the war to end all wars.
As we reflect on the great loss of life and limb, loss of healthy bodies and quiet minds and often a loss of hope, we wonder how the nation and all the local communities managed to carry on with the loss of so many husbands and sons, brothers and friends. One hundred years ago a greater proportion of the nation worshiped in church week by week and many found comfort through their faith in Christ who suffered and died yet brought hope through his resurrection. Their faith in God’s love from which nothing can separate us was strengthened and we can have such faith in the very different world of 2018. Others, however, seeing the suffering and senseless carnage questioned God’s love and such questions remain.
So, as we read the names on war memorials in town and villages, how are we to remember without becoming over sentimental about those we did not know or cynical and agnostic in the face of the horrors of war? Perhaps the best tribute to all those who died is to work for peace and justice with contrition for the times when our thoughts, words and actions have been tinged with the hate that leads to war, working for the healing of past wrongs, while seeking peace and reconciliation in our homes and communities, in our nation and across the globe. Even though a hundred years have passed since the end of WW1 it is right to remember not only those who died, but the tragedy that war is for everyone and remember Christ who is the prince of peace in God’s coming Kingdom.
Rev'd Jane Culliford, St Andrew's Church