1062 Autumnwood Dr, Winnipeg, MB R2J 1C7  (204) 256-8792

Service from Sunday, November 11, 2018

Remembrance Day

100th Anniversary of the End of WW1

“I crawled in a spirit-haunted place
Made wild by souls that moan and mourn;
And Death leered by with mangled face –
Ah God! I prayed, I prayed for dawn.”

― Arthur Newberry 1893- Choyce, Memory Poems of War and Love

Call to Worship

One: On this day of memory we gather to sing and to pray,
All: we remember the past and look to the future.
One: On this day when the guns once fell silent,
All: we come before you God, seeking Your peace.
One: On this day of hope in the face of terror,
All: we come before you God, praying with all our hearts:
One: God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.
All: Open our eyes and the eyes of the nations to find a different path through the disagreements of life in this world.
One: In this time of story, song, and prayer,
All: may we be re-committed to being people of Peace, true peace.
One: May we catch a vision of how the world could live together. And so we echo the old prayers,
All: Make us channels of your peace. Let there be Peace on Earth and let it begin with us!   Amen.

“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

Douglas MacArthur

Prayer of Approach and Confession

O God of all nations, as we look to that day when you will gather people from north and south, east and west, into the unity of your kingdom of peace, guide with your just and gentle wisdom all who take counsel for the nations of the world, that all your people may spend their days in security, freedom, and peace.  God our Creator, we fail to seek your truth, peace and justice:  look with compassion upon those facing danger, disaster, and devastation.  Guide us all along the path of life, and make us valiant for truth, through Jesus Christ Your Son.  Amen.

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
 
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.
 
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.”

  • – John McCrae

Responsive Litany

One: Remember, Lord, those whose stories were unspoken and untold.
All: Jesus, remember them when you come into your kingdom.

One: Remember, Lord, those whose minds were darkened and disturbed by memories of war.
All: Jesus, remember them when you come into your kingdom.

One: Remember, Lord, those who suffered in silence, and those whose bodies were disfigured by injury and pain.
All: Jesus, remember them when you come into your kingdom.

One: God of all, remember your holy promise, and look with love on all your people, living and departed. On this day we especially ask that you would hold for ever all who suffered during the First World War, those who returned scarred by warfare, those who waited anxiously at home, and those who returned wounded, and disillusioned; those who mourned, and those communities that were diminished and suffered loss. Remember too those who acted with kindly compassion, those who bravely risked their own lives for their comrades, and those who in the aftermath of war, worked tirelessly for a more peaceful world. And as you remember them, remember us, O God; grant us peace in our time and a longing for the day when people of every language, race, and nation will be brought into the unity of Christ’s kingdom. This we ask in the name of the same Jesus Christ.   Amen.

“The first World War in so many ways shaped the 20th century and really remade our world for the worse.”

– Adam Hochschild

Scripture

Revelation 21

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’ And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

John 15: 9-17

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Last Post/Silence/Reveille

“When you go home tell them of us and say,
for your tomorrow we gave our today.

I believe in the sun,
even when it does not shine.
I believe in love,
even when I cannot feel it.
I believe in God,
even when he is silent.”

– Prayer scratched on the wall of a prison cell in Cologne during the Second World War

Commentary

Each year at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, many in our country observe a moment of silence. Yet for many others in today’s world it has become just another day, nothing special, except when you get that day off work, if you get it off work, and many go about their day to day business as usual. Yet in reality Remembrance Day on November 11th marks the end of the First World War and is a day to remember and honour those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. This silence, this year, is held in our churches on this particular Remembrance Sunday. So we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country in the pursuit of freedom, justice and peace. We also inevitably remember those we love and from whom we are parted. Many of us recognize though, that the war which was meant to end all wars has not done so. It seems as if we are always in conflict in the world, whether it be called a war, a military intervention, or by some other name. This brings us to the question, when evil forces are at work in the world are there times when war can be justifiable as a last resort to stop such atrocities? It is a difficult question that we people of faith must grapple with every day, but especially on a day such as today.

Jesus was quite clear in his teachings that he had conquered death and it should no longer hold power. Jesus gave real hope with his promise of a kingdom which was yet to come, a new heaven and a new earth. Jesus spoke in pictures about a time when there would be feasting and laughter. The time to come would be different, the hungry would be filled and those who had been downtrodden would be freed. This gives us hope as we entrust to God those who have died and gives us hope for a new future, one without war and violence of any kind.

However, in his teachings Jesus also made clear that real change must start to take place now in the hearts and minds of his followers. We therefore use this service to remind ourselves of our part in seeking to bring about the desperate need for change. So for Christians this Remembrance Sunday is more than an act of remembrance it is a promise that we will do our best to serve Christ by serving others in the cause of peace, for the relief of want and suffering. By the Holy Spirit may God give us wisdom, courage, and hope and keep us faithful now and always. Amen.

 – Adapted from a meditation by Charles Royden

Prayers of the People

God the Father,
          have mercy upon us.

God the Son,
          have mercy upon us.

God the Holy Spirit,
         have mercy upon us.

Holy and blessed Trinity,
         have mercy upon us.

From all fear and prejudice, bitterness, and all hardness of heart,
         loving God, deliver us.

From all spite, revenge, and destructive anger,
         loving God, deliver us.

From the desire to dominate others, to impose our will, and from all feelings of superiority,
         loving God, deliver us.

Open our hearts towards our neighbour, and help us to work together for the common good.
         God, hear us and help us.

Strengthen us to stand for all that is just and true and right.
         God, hear us and help us.

Grant that we may come to understand our enemies,
         God, hear us and help us.

Bring release to those with abiding memories of hurt and injury
         God, hear us and help us.

God grant us the grace to receive forgiveness, and to forgive as we are forgiven.
         God, hear us and help us.

Comfort all those who mourn, the troubled, and all who call upon you in their distress.
         God, hear us and help us.

Guide the leaders of the nations and those who work for peace, and make us all subject to Christ’s just and gentle rule.
         God, hear us and help us.

Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

O God, our maker and our strength,
from whose love in Christ we can never be parted either by death or life:
Look in mercy on those for whom we pray this day, (prayer list)
and grant us your protection and peace, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

As we ask for deliverance from the forces of destruction, so we pray in the words that Jesus gave us:

Our Father, who art in heaven…

“Without the birds I dare not think how I should have gone through the War at all. One friend, after reading my manuscript, asked if I could not include ‘more horrors’, even at the expense of some of the birds, but I told him that in any case I could remember not more ‘horrors’, though of birds I remembered so much. The mangled corpse is forgotten, but the warbler with the nest and eggs is remembered. I think the reason for this is largely that, at the time, the ‘horrors’ were so beastly, so ugly, that one got into the habit of putting them aside by concentrating on the birds, so that now, after many years, the memory retains the birds and to large extent has got rid of the rest.”

– Philip Gosse

Benediction

German pastor Martin Neimoller wrote the following poem in regards to the war and rise of Nazism in Germany, but it speaks to us today as well,

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

So as we go from this place today;
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

Amen.

To read about the music used in this service, go to:  http://www.windsorparkunitedchurch.com/notes-on-the-notes-november-11-2018/

To see photos from this service, go to: http://www.windsorparkunitedchurch.com/photos-from-november-11-2018/

Categories: Sermons, Worship