The Act of Remembrance I’m sure many of us know was actually begun in 1919 by King George V to recall the end of the first World War hostilities, which formally ended at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th Month in 1918, when the Peace Treaty was signed, although the war officially ended with the Treaty of Versailles on 28TH June, 1919.
Since then, however, Remembrance Day has begun to incorporate all the victims of wars that have happened since WW1 and WW2 and to remember the soldiers and innocent lives lost through the ones that are still happening today.
Everywhere today, there seems to be conflict and unrest and the words of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel resonant with events that are happening around us and it can feel as though there will be no end to the violence and natural disasters, but Jesus tells us quite clearly not to be afraid. He tells us in so many ways to trust in him and he promises to be with us always.
In this Chapter Jesus is foretelling disasters, wars, insurrections, natural disasters and family disloyalty. He is not threatening or trying to scare his disciples, but he is giving a warning of things to come so that they and us will be prepared, in the same way as a loving parent would warn children about difficult times to come so they would not be too frightened.
All of this can be quite scary and I would imagine the disciples began to feel afraid about what was to happen and I suspect this resonates with most people today as events around the world are pretty dire, but especially those nations who are affected by the types of disasters Jesus described. Those nations where there is drought, famine and especially war, such as in Ukraine.
However, we do know some of the reasons for the changes in our climate, which are believed to have caused some of the natural disasters and we know there are ways to work with nature to put into effect a reversal of some. Unfortunately, we may not be able to repair all the damage that has been caused by inconsiderate pollution, however, the little we can do will not be in vain and we can only try and put our trust in God.
God knows us so well and sent Jesus to teach us how to forgive, to love each other and the world. However, the message Jesus gave to us of “love your neighbour as yourself”, stands out in complete contrast to the scene describe in Luke, especially when he says, “You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends.” In many ways people have failed then and now to obey or follow Jesus’ teachings. They did not always look after their neighbours and sometimes failed to welcome strangers and over the years we too have probably failed in similar ways. We have not always welcomed strangers and until recently some didn’t even know who their neighbours were. We have also neglected God’s creation and polluted the atmosphere.
Jesus’ words in Luke can seem quite hard and they may cause us to feel afraid, whether metaphorically or real and in Luke’s time to be betrayed by a family member was probably one of the most frightening things, because as Jesus said they would be put to death for following his teachings, but today we can be thankful that we can practice our faith in relative safety and trust in God to be there in times of need.
Jesus in Luke, is predicting events to come, but reiterates the trust the disciples and we must have in him. He tells them that should they have to testify “I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict” and “not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.” Many people then and since have had to defend their belief and some unfortunately, were put to death, but their endurance did not fail.
Soldiers and Saints, the world over have shown faith and endurance, they died so that others may live in peace and to be able to follow a faith without persecution.
We have so much to be thankful to God for, yes, we may face trials and tribulations, we may have fears and doubts, but we know that Jesus died so we would be forgiven and we have the hope and belief that we have a place in the kingdom to come. God has promised that through faith he will get us through our present troubles, if we trust and believe in him. Something I have always said to my children and now my grandchildren is, that God never gives us more than we can handle because we have hope in the resurrection to sustain us.
There is no doubt that many people face fears today and some are forgetting the sacrifice made by others during the wars and the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for our forgiveness. Therefore, we must remember to trust in God who will see us through all troubles and I hope the following poem by an unknown author will speak to those who are forgetting the sacrifice made by so many unknown soldiers’ men and women:
“Why are they selling poppies, Mummy? Selling poppies in town today.
The poppies, child, are flowers of love. For the men who marched away.
But why have they chosen a poppy, Mummy? Why not a beautiful rose?
Because my child, men fought and died in the fields where the poppies grow.
But why are the poppies so red, Mummy? Why are the poppies so red?
Red is the colour of blood, my child. The blood that our soldiers shed.
The heart of the poppy is black, Mummy. Why does it have to be black?
Black, my child, is the symbol of grief. For the men who never came back.
But why, Mummy are you crying so? Your tears are giving you pain.
My tears are my fears for you my child. For the world is forgetting again.
Jesus asks us, no he tells us to put our faith and trust in him and we must and he promises to be with us always if we remember his teachings and follow his ways. To care for one another and the creation in which we live and we are not only forgetting the sacrifices made during wards, but also Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
God sends the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to endure and hope for the future and we believe in God, the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who gives us peace and will always love and guide us.
The lord is my light
My light and salvation
In God I trust
In God I trust and believe