- Isaiah 11:1-10
- Micah 4:1-8
Some Random Thoughts Some Sundays it is difficult to know what to do. In a faith tradition that has (for at least the last 1500 years) been conflicted on the issue of strict pacifism versus some form of violence when needed/just war November 11 (called Remembrance Day in Canada, Veteran's Day in the US, still called Armistice Day by some) is one of those days.
What do we do with Remembrance Day? How do we, as a faith community who tends (in many places nowadays) to lean towards the pacifism side of the equation handle a day to remember the wars of the 20th (and now the 21st) Century? Some are happy to leave the commemorations to the Legion services at cenotaphs or arenas. Some insist that the church service on the Sunday closest/prior to the 11th ABSOLUTELY MUST include some form of remembering and saying thanks--preferably with flags and a colour party and a piper.
But what are we doing when we remember and give thanks? Are we falling into the easy trap (in the name of patriotism) of glorifying a selective memory of what the war was? Are we being biased into remembering those who went on the "right" side -- or even more closely focussed to be those who went from our own community/congregation -- as gloriously brave and courageous fighting against an evil foe? Or are we able to mark the day by naming that we are remembering horrors, that we are pausing to honour those who wore the colours of BOTH sides, that we are taking time in our remembering to say those key words (words the Royal Canadian Legion used for years in their November 11 materials) Never Again.
As a person who professes faith in the one who was called the Prince of Peace, who said "Blessed are the peacemakers" I would hope that our commemorations--both in church sanctuaries and in Legion Halls--fit most closely with the last option. To truly mark November 11 is to name that brave men and women died and suffered in a cause they were told was right and holy (during the World Wars church pulpits were used to encourage folks to enlist, even as some other ministry types may have doubted that war was the answer) on both sides of every battlefield [and yes in this I include Afghanistan and Iraq] in the course of human history.
This Sunday we will pause, we will give a "pittance of [our] time" to remember that humans too often fail to live up to God's vision of a Peaceable Kingdom. And may we re-commit ourselves to Never Again. May we re-commit ourselves to working for peace, true peace [which has a much deeper meaning than the absence of violent conflict] within the world around us. And it is my belief that this is the way we truly honour those who have gone before us.