– St Andrew’s Methodist Church Cardiff, Brigade Enrolment –
Today, as we know – is the day when we remember the lives of all those who have died in conflict – particularly in the first two World Wars, but now those who have died in every conflict both those serving in the forces, and those who had no choice or position – the civilians on both sides who lost their lives and suffered in the horror of war.
And whilst it might seem – ridiculous, we ought to remember not just human life, but all of creation that suffers in war.
But here as we gather in Birchgrove…..
I wonder what it means to remember? Particularly today.
It seems to me that:
Remembrance has to be more than simply the wearing of symbols, the gathering around monuments, and the observance of silences.
Remembrance has to be more than simply re-calling the names of those who have died in service,
It has to be more than simply mourning and recalling the past, as though it was a totally different chapter to the present – and perhaps the biggest tragedy of all is that we say ‘lest we forget’ but in reality we do forget.
All too often, all too quickly, and all too easily.
We forget how fortunate we are to live in freedom and to enjoy peace,
We forget how many still suffer from the wounds of tyranny and warfare.
We forget, that the wars our nation has been involved in both more recently and in the past have been wars against a vicious and evil ideology – one that has not be fully defeated.
And as I look out to the young people here amongst us, and I’m speaking to you particularly this morning – I want to urge you to remember the horrors of the past better than we have remembered.
We’ve forgotten too easily in the world today – and we’ve against our better judgement, put our own interests before the interests of others or of future generations.
And so it seems actually to me, that we have let you down.
You might not be aware, but the world isn’t in the best shape at the moment.
Things seem to be changing month by month – and 2016 has seen more change than any other year that I can remember.
I’ve only been alive for 25 years, but I am beginning again to see a kind of world that I thought history had done away with.
And I’m worried, if I’m honest. I’m worried about the kind of world we adults have created for you….I’m worried about the kind of world our children will endure, and that you and your children will experience.
But I’m also hopeful. I’m hopeful because every time I speak to one of you, I hear the kind of world that you long for.
I see the potential that every single one of you has to grow up and to become even greater human beings.
I see in you, an understanding of the world as it is meant to be – not as it is, and it’s far from perfect.
So I wont to encourage you – really encourage you, to be as good as you can be….because we need good people in our world today.
Go and see the world!
Go and experience different cultures!
Go and embrace success and failure – and persevere!
Listen to music and look at art that you love, and if you don’t find it – then start making your own.
Fall in love with who your heart tells you to,
Don’t try to avoid heartache,
But do your best not to make others feel it.
Be encouragers of each other,
Weep with those who weep,
Rejoice with those who rejoice,
Be people who read books, and who listen to each other, and who challenge the injustice of the world.
When you look at someone else – remember that you are looking at someone who is made in the image of God, just like you. In everything:
Don’t settle for second best – we need people who are fully human. We need people who haven’t forgotten what it is to feel. We need you – to make the world a better place, and you can all do that.
And be brave – because God, even in the moments when it feels like he has abandoned you – will be the anchor in the midst of the storm, that will hold you – and give you a sense of peace, that the world in all its turmoil cannot destroy.
The world is changing – but you have everything you need to change it into the world it is meant to be. And I hope and pray, that you will, through God’s grace – be the people you will need to be to navigate your way through this world.
May God Bless You, and May God Bless Your Lives.