Remembrance Sunday Sermons; One hundred years ago the clash of Passchendaele, one of the most noticeably awful of the Great War, was moving toward its end. This crusade, which was planned to enable the Allies to get through to the German submarine bases on the Belgian coast and in this way abbreviate the war, lurched on through mud and repulsiveness from the part of the arrangement November. In that time only five miles of domain was picked up, and for every day of the battle 5000 men were injured or killed. At this point and at this phase of the war the vast majority of them were recruits. It was, as Harry Patch, the last enduring First World War trooper, said ‘damnation with the top on.’
It was a man-made heck, no doubt, in a war that even now is still poured over trying to comprehend it. A war wherein Kaiser and King were cousins, and the customary battling men simply that, whichever side they were on, common men. In any case, nature hadn’t made a difference. It had been the heaviest downpour for a long time with the water level in those low-lying fields of Belgium just barely subterranean. It was a fight battled in mud so profound and deceptive that men suffocated in it. It was a position of mud and awfulness.
No big surprise Lloyd George himself, British Prime Minster of the day, said this ‘was without a doubt probably the best calamity of the war.’ There were 320,000 killed and injured on the Allied side, a sum of around 500,000 altogether. Of those lying in the Tyne Cot graveyard, which we’ve seen on our TV screens as a feature of the First World War century, the normal age was 23, and numerous obscure or anonymous, or rather, as the headstones put it, ‘known unto God’.
Would there have been looks at magnificence amidst this human wretchedness? Without a doubt there would, on the grounds that there consistently are. There would have been incredible brilliance just as extraordinary hopelessness. We recall it now, most likely, through the tales of individual chivalry – the men who tossed themselves over live explosives so as to spare their buddies, the ones who went over the top to bring back the dead or injured. A portion of these legends will have been respected: we know their names for they got their Victoria Cross, a considerable lot of them after death. Yet, there would have been many, a lot progressively overlooked yet truly great individuals on that combat zone on the two sides.
Christians keep on making the bold case that in the most hopeless circumstances in addition to the fact that we are known unto God, however that He isn’t missing from our experience of hopelessness. We even lift extraordinary hopelessness to a blessed and sacred spot at the core of our confidence, the cross of Calvary, on the Crucified One conveys in His individual all the misery, not least the honest anguish, of the world. This is a God who in Jesus went into the very profundities of being human.
Known unto God. Individuals of different beliefs would make comparative cases of God. These words were found scratched on the dividers of the Jewish Warsaw ghetto in another scene of human hopelessness only 25 years after the fact:
‘I put stock in the sun notwithstanding when it isn’t sparkling. I have confidence in adoration notwithstanding when I can’t feel it. I have confidence in God notwithstanding when he is quiet.’
Christians are called to recall and we are called to trust. For a few, those long stretches of war made it inconceivable for them to clutch confidence in a God. It was reflected in different parts of life. When the new century rolled over Edward Elgar was composing his outstanding Pomp and Circumstance walks, one of which later had the words ‘Place where there is expectation and wonder’ added to them. In 1919 was the main execution of his Cello Concerto, which is elegiac, intelligent and in a totally unique mind-set and register. Gone was the hopefulness, the swagger and the certainty.
Today we recollect. How essential that is. We are called to trust also. Barack Obama called one of his books ‘The boldness of expectation’; I assemble he heard the expression from a most loved evangelist. It is nervy to trust in a difficult situation, yet it is the daringness of the Cross which Christians attest as the sign most importantly of God’s adoring purposes for us, no matter what. For Good Friday is never the part of the arrangement, regardless of whether it is the manner in which we comprehend the story. The magnificence consistently radiate through, and today we recall those numerous individuals through whose lives in the midst of war that wonder was to be seen.
Today, we recollect and we trust.
What does the word ‘trust’ mean for you, and what may it resemble in day by day life?
What kind of things may thump your confidence and what may you do about it?
Remembrance Day gives off an impression of being basic: love of nation; thanksgiving for harmony and majority rules system; and sobre recognition of fearless people who kicked the bucket in the administration of such high qualities. Be that as it may, for some Christians Remembrance Day can likewise be confusing, on the grounds that war is such a glaring difference to the Christian obligation to adore, favor and pardon one’s adversaries.
The lessons underneath think about these issues in various ways.
1)2007 – Lest We Forget
(considering war dedications inside a congregation)
2)2009 – Waging Peace
(the decisions we should make as residents)
Coming up next isn’t actually a lesson. It is a discourse given at an open Remembrance Day function:
3)2015 – Remembrance – Seventy Years On
(“In some cases opportunity implies NOT doing whatever we like…”)