Why do we remember?

Sometimes people struggle with Remembrance Sunday for all sorts of different reasons.

For some people it can be uncomfortable because they see it as a glorification of war.

 For others it’s hard to relate to because they have not lost a loved one and wonder why we should be making such a fuss.

 For others it’s an event tinged with grief and pain that opens up old hurts from many years ago because there is someone they loved who is absent because they died. All they have been left with is wondering what might have been if only….

 No one is celebrating war, it’s deeply traumatic, involving a tragic loss of life, and though sometimes it is unavoidable, it is never desirable.

 As we remember, we are reminding ourselves just how painful and traumatic war can be. We remember those who found themselves caught up in it all, whose lives were at best irrevocably changed or at worst, prematurely ended. They were not the empire builders or destiny changers who caused or shaped the conflict, and they deserve to be honoured.

 We remember because if we ever forget, we might become gun ho and enter into unnecessary military conflict once again.

 We remember because there are still people today who have been traumatised by what they have seen and by the loss of those they have worked with and relied upon. Only recently a Funeral was held at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire for those who died whilst flying a Puma helicopter, and our hearts go out to their families and to all those who worked with and knew them.

 We remember because as has been said before, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

 But we also remember Jesus, because in laying down his life for us, in so doing he paid the price for our own shortcomings and failings. He opened the door to heaven to all who trust in him. So even as we remember the carnage and the tragedy of war, we remember a sure and certain hope that sustained many people facing death. Because there is a love that is stronger than death, more powerful than our own mortality, that reaches out to us beyond death and resurrects us giving us eternal life.

 And that love is found only in Jesus, so we who believe in him have a hope that can overcome even the tragedy of war. So we rightly weep with those who weep especially on this particular Sunday, yet though we too shed tears of loss and feel it deeply, Christians are different, because we know that through the tragedy of war shines the triumph of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus. It makes sense of life, it points us to eternal life, it tells us that the story does end in death and destruction but goes on in redemption and resurrection.

 Now that’s something to remember this Sunday!