Never Again

 

November 11, 11am, hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of people in villages, towns and cities across this country make their way to a cenotaph. As veterans, soldiers, first responders, RCMP officers, cadets march by we clap and cheer. Then, around the cenotaph we stand in solemn reverence. The trumpeter begins the last post, all heads bow in silence, and we remember.

What is it that runs through the minds of those who stand here? Is it the story of war, with battles lost and won? Is it the perceived victories as conquerors take control and the enemy retreats? Or do we call to mind the countless men and women whose lives were cut far too short because of fear and hatred? Do we remember their commitment and courage? Do we remember their dream of a better way, a world of peace and freedom? Do we remember what happens when we counter hatred with hatred, and do we learn?

I imagine that for each of us gathered what we remember is different, but I also imagine that we share a desire for peace and freedom. This day is bitter sweet. There is much to be thankful for – the freedom to speak and pray; to live and love as we feel called to; a country that embraces and holds up the rights of each individual; communities that support and nurture, challenge and provide spaces for learning, growing and changing. Then there is the bitter piece that we still live in a world where fear and hatred directs and controls. When WW1 came to an end people of the land viewed the destruction and said “never again”. Many did not return home and those who did carry the effects of war with them every day. Every year we gather and say we will not forget but we have not remembered well. Peace has not come and we live in fear. This fear lands us, yet again, in a place of war and we dream of a better place and a safer way.

As I prepared for Sunday worship I found this poem written by Bill Mitton

The Crosses

I stood there before the crosses

Glowing white in row on row

Everyone a young life cut short

As the names upon them show

The dates they died below the names

Tell of wars now passed and gone

Passchendaele, the Somme, and Mons

Of battles fought, and lost and won

History remembers, as it should

These men who fought and died

Whilst for their families left behind

A dull sorrow tinged with pride

The faces of boys held now in Sepia

Who died in days long gone

Yet living on in memories

And hearts, still holding on

Yet despite the hurt and grief here

What horrors make me fill

Is that when I look behind me

There are new crosses growing still

 

Blessings

Valerie

Reminders of the week

This morning one of our faith family, Maxine Cameron, yielded her place in the Universe and began her walk in the kingdom. We hold Maxine’s family in our prayers and hearts as they move through the coming days. A celebration of Maxine’s life will take place at First United sometime later this week. Final arrangements have not yet been made but I will send out the information as soon as I know.

Saturday 8:00-11am Pancake Breakfast in the Hall. $7 a person. Come and bring a friend!

Sunday 1030am – We Gather to celebrate 254 years in this place. Service will be followed by lunch.

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