Welcome to our online Worship Offering for Remembrance Sunday. If you would like to coincide with the 11:00am two minutes’ silence, the ideal time to start going through this offering would be 10:30am.
A prayer for Remembrance Sunday
Almighty Father, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of all: govern the hearts and minds of those in authority and bring the families of the nations, divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin, to be subject to his just and gentle rule; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn: O God our help in Ages Past
Reading: Philippians 4: 4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Psalm 46: God is our hope and strength
God is our Hope and Strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be moved, And though the hills be carried into the middest of the sea. Though the waters thereof rage and swell, And though the mountains shake at the tempest of the same. The rivers of the flood thereof shall make glad the city of God: The holy place of the tabernacle of the most highest. God is in the midst of her therefore shall she not be removed: God shall help her and that right early. The heathen make much ado and the kingdoms are moved: But God hath shewed his voice, and the earth shall melt away. The Lord of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge. O come hither and behold the works of the Lord: What destruction he hath brought upon the earth. He maketh wars to cease in all the world: He breaketh the bow, and knappeth the spear in sunder, And burneth the chariots in the fire. Be still then and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, and I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: World without end. Amen.
Today’s Reflection: from Rev. Jane Cresswell, our Vicar.
You can either listen to this reflection by clicking below, or read the text below.
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4 vv6,7
I wonder how many of those reading or hearing these words today are familiar with the fictional character of Matthew Shardlake – drawn to my attention by the Reverend Christopher Herbert? Those who are fans of crime fiction will probably recognise his name as the main protagonist in a series of novels written by C J Sansom, which are set in London during the reign of Henry VIII.
Sansom, with a PhD in history, has done his research meticulously, giving his readers a real insight into the political complexity and reality of daily life in Tudor London. But as well as careful research and the capacity to tell a good story, good historical writers must somehow imagine themselves in the past and stand in the shoes of their historical characters in order to bring it vividly alive for others. We call it immersive writing. And Sansom is very good at it.
Today on Remembrance Sunday we all need to use our imaginations as we remember again those who served in past conflicts. Most of us weren’t even born. And with a few exceptions most of us do not have direct experience of war. Only a few are left to tell us first hand what it was like to experience the great military conflicts of the early 20th century.
And so when we participate in or watch the time honoured rituals of Remembrance Sunday … “they shall not grow old as we that are left grow old …”; the keeping of two minutes silence; the laying of wreaths; those rituals serve to invite us to engage our imaginations and immerse ourselves in the situation that our ancestors found themselves in, the kind of people they were, the horrors they experienced, the pain, the misery, the boredom, the anguish, the bravery and the heroism. We try to enter into their shoes.
And so we question: could we have done what they did? Would we have been heroes? How would we have coped with the misery and fear?
Sunday by Sunday the Christian community practises such immersive remembering as we celebrate the Eucharist – known equally as Holy Communion, the Lord’s supper, the Mass. When Jesus was at the last Supper with his friends, he broke bread, blessed God and gave it to his disciples saying “Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you. Do this in Remembrance of me.” And for 2000 years the Church has followed that command and discovered in so doing that somehow Christ himself is with us in and through the breaking of bread. We weren’t present at Christ’s last meal in Jerusalem, and yet we can talk authentically about remembering, because we enter into the past imaginatively in such a way that the past becomes present. We are tested morally and spiritually, brought face to face with who we are, recognising our frailty and receiving the gift of God’s grace.
At the heart of all remembering, whether that is the special remembering that takes place on Remembrance Sunday or the act of remembrance associated with the Last Supper, God himself is present. He holds all time in his hands, past, present and future. He holds us, his creation, in his hands. And therefore, we are caught up with him and with each other in the mysteries of life.
In 2020 as we mark this solemn occasion in different ways, and know that we are facing a different kind of enemy in the form of the Covid 19 pandemic, let us find in the examples of those who gave their lives and served in war, the courage and strength to hold our heads high. Remembering how they continued despite the misery and fear, clinging to hope in the midst of adversity, let us cling on to hope as we enter this second lockdown period. As we remember them with pride, let us be a generation of which future generations may also be proud.
And in this present darkness, let us like our ancestors before us, cast our concerns on God, and find peace beyond understanding through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hymn: Remembrance Hymn
Prayers for Peace
Let us pray for all who suffer as a result of conflict, and ask that God may give us peace: For the service men and women who have died in the violence of war, each one remembered by and known to God; May God give peace. God give peace. For those who love them in death as in life, offering the distress of our grief and the sadness of our loss; May God give peace. God give peace. For all members of the armed forces who are in danger this day, remembering family, friends and all who pray for their safe return; May God give peace. God give peace. For civilian women, children and men whose lives are disfigured by war or terror, calling to mind in penitence the anger and hatreds of humanity; May God give peace. God give peace. For peacemakers and peacekeepers, who seek to keep this world secure and free; May God give peace. God give peace. For all who bear the burden and privilege of leadership, political, military and religious; asking for gifts of wisdom and resolve in the search for reconciliation and peace; May God give peace. God give peace. O God of truth and justice, we hold before you those whose memory we cherish, and those whose names we will never know. Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this broken world, and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm. As we honour the past, may we put our faith in your future; for you are the source of life and hope, now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn: Lord, for the years
Let us pledge ourselves anew to the service of God and our fellow men and women, that we may help, encourage, and comfort others, and support those working for the relief of the needy and for the peace and welfare of the nations.
Lord God our Father, We pledge ourselves to serve you and all humankind, In the causes of peace, For the relief of want and suffering, And for the praise of your name. Guide us by your Spirit; Give us wisdom; give us courage; give us hope; and keep us faithful now and always. Amen.
Let us remember before God and commend to his sure keeping those who have died for their country in war, those whom we knew and whose memory we treasure; and all who have lived and died in the service of mankind.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them: We will remember them.
The Kohima epitaph When you go home, tell them of us, and say: For your tomorrow we gave our today.
The Lord’s Prayer
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with you and remain with you all, now and always. Amen.
The National Anthem