Remembrance Day Observations

November is a month of remembrance in many ways.  At the beginning of November we celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day and commemorate both the giant figures of our faith and the less known and unsung heroes.  As time has gone on, the whole month of November has grown into a month when we remember our loved ones who have gone before us.  We pray for them.  We remember them and tell their stories.  In doing so we aid the healing process that each of us goes through when we lose someone we have loved.  These moments also help us to think about what is important in our lives.  In the face of grief and, when we remember those who have gone before us, we start to wonder about our own mortality and our own legacy.  What am I doing with my life and what will I leave behind?

As well as remembering the saints and our own loved ones, November also coincides with the end of the Great War (1914-1918) and the commemorations that take place to mark that moment on 11 November.  It is important to take time for this remembering as well.  As the human family we must remember the atrocities of war, the tragedy of the thousands of young innocent lives lost, and the generational trauma experienced by thousands more.  We remember because we never want this to happen again.  We remember because like our own remembering of a loved one, it helps us to imagine a different future.  We remember those who died in war and we honour their human dignity.  We remember and we commit ourselves to finding and building a world of peace.

This year Father Trac joined members of the local community and those from the Returned Soldiers League (RSL) to remember the Great War.  The group gathered at the Kew War Memorial on the corner of Cotham Road and High Street, Kew.  Following is the prayer that Fr Trac shared:

We have come to this place to remember all those who were caught up in the courageous but tragic events of the First World War. We remember those who were killed in action, or by disease, the bereaved, the lost, the families which were shattered, the wounded, maimed and injured, those who held in silence unspeakable memories of warfare. As we remember those who fought and those who remained anxiously at home in this community, let us pray that God will heal all memories, speak a word of peace, and bring us his healing.

O God,
The memory of World War I haunts us.
Stories are handed down from one generation to the next
and the suffering and sorrow and senseless horror
fills the pit of our stomach and paralyses.
The earth cries out for blood spilt
of one brother!
How cries the earth over thousands!
O God,
The War to end all wars!
Today, we bow our heads and weep
For what is lost
And unlearned lessons
And humanity’s continued loss.
Breathe peace into the horror chamber of the heart
Breathe peace into perverse minds
Breathe peace into hands which violate.
Teach us to respect and celebrate life
And life wrought through a wooden cross
Whereon shame is named
And Love’s Power released.
Peace to nations.
Peace to man, woman and child.
Peace to all, O God!
For your Love’s sake. Amen.

Source:  All Saints, Bingley Parish Church, UK



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