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Shelswell Group of Parishes

Minister's letter

Lest We Forget - Remember

November is a time for remembering. 1 November is ‘All Saints Day’; 2 November is ‘All Souls Day’ when we remember the departed; 5 November is a ‘secular’ remembering - Guy Fawkes Day - and on 11 November we will mark 100 years since the end of the Great War. Of all the ‘rememberings’, 11 November is probably the most poignant as we think of the millions from so many countries who died on the various fronts, from the trenches in Belgium, to the mountains of Greece, to the beaches of Gallipoli. ‘Lest we forget’ will be the theme, and many words will be spoken about the horrors of war, the bravery, the sacrifices, the respect due, and ‘it must never happen again’….. But here we are, 100 years on, wars raging in many parts of the world, soldiers dying or receiving terrible life-changing injuries, civilians suffering and dying, and the major nations possibly initiating a new arms race.

We do remember – but, alas, we also ‘forget’. We say “it must never happen again”, but do little to create a climate in which ‘reconciliation’ is the aim, not ‘winning’. People often scoff at Christ’s teaching – “love your neighbour as yourself”, “turn the other cheek”, “go the second mile” – considering it unrealistic “if you give an inch they’ll take a mile” …. Our human nature strongly resists the idea of taking the interests of other people into account rather than putting our own interests first. But if we do not want war and strife, we need to put effort into learning the skills of negotiation that might bring about peaceful solutions to problems. And this applies to the whole gamut of human relationships from the family, to friendships, to the work place, the village, the town, the city, the nation, as well as internationally.

May the sacrifices of those who have died in war be the spur to us to resist conflict and negotiate reconciliation wherever we live, and move, and have our being. What better way of not forgetting those who have died in war than remembering to work for peace? Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” '