Remembering Forward – Remembrance Sunday 2022

‘Remembering Forward’  –  Remembrance Sunday 2022  -Ephesians 4:25-5:2, John 15: 9 -17

The character Grizabella in the musical ‘Cats’ reflects upon her life and sings the famous words: ‘Memory. All alone in the moonlight. I can dream of the old days, life was beautiful then …’

There can’t be many of us who have not looked back wistfully and thought about how life looked better just a few months ago.  We all engage in the act of remembering – dreaming of the ‘old days’ – the sharing of stories that make us smile or laugh. Memories of shared experiences draw us together & are an important part of our human nature. But I also believe that remembering more difficult and challenging times can be of equal importance. Remembering the tragedy of human loss and sacrifice can be a potent force for good, IF, by looking back and recalling such events, we allow them to guide us, to instruct and inspire us into looking forward with a new sense of purpose and hope for something better. We need a different way forward.

But the process of remembering can bring with it stark contrasts that challenge us and can make life uncomfortable. We see both Human longing and human failure. Human Hope and human disappointment. Human understanding and human division.

With the number of different challenges that we find facing us as a global community right now, the need to work productively together is vital to our survival. Physical conflict resulting from disputes over political ideology, lifestyle, culture and the distribution of natural resources is on the increase. No one should have to fight for these basic essentials and war should always be a last resort but sadly, far too many political leaders appear to be lacking in wisdom and restraint. Perhaps this is because politicians don’t do the fighting in the same way as soldiers do.  There is wisdom in the statement ‘If you want to know about the horror of war don’t ask a politician … ask a soldier.’

Our readings today highlight the Christian revelation of a God who calls us to remember – to remember who He is and the life that He wants for us. The challenges of Human suffering that we live with today are man-made – it’s no good blaming God for them, yet many do. He never intended for us to live like this. The problem does not lie with God but in Jesus Christ, the solution most definitely does. He call us to a different way forward.

Through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ – that attempt by mankind to kill love and remove it from our presence – Jesus shows us that he is no stranger to physical pain, suffering and the reality of evil that is in the world but he shows us a different way forward. It was radical then and it’s radical now. It’s not for the weak and it’s not for the timid and it’s most definitely not for those who are easily swayed by the opinions of others. It’s about LOVE. Not a pink, fluffy, romanticised form of Love but a Love that costs and needs strength and needs courage.

It’s revolutionary and it’s life changing and because of that it makes those who follow Jesus amongst the most feared and the most persecuted people on the planet because they dare to look forward with Love.

Jesus shows us that if we want to live our lives in peace, then it’s not national security but international community that will achieve it. It’s not about alienation but forgiveness. It’s not about conquest but sacrifice. These are the qualities that will enable it to happen. With increased flexing of military muscle across the globe and with war devastating parts of Europe once again, this is something that is worth remembering.