Our thoughts last Sunday – Remembrance Sunday – were led by Adrian Masson, whose reflections were inspired by some of the poetry at the core of the Act of Remembrance that had formed the first part of our service.
Adrian spoke of his personal experiences … “the outcomes of conflict are hugely stressful, sometimes horrific and difficult to comprehend. When I was at sea I belonged to the Naval Christian Fellowship [whose watchword was] the text from Proverbs 3:5 ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding’ – a verse I often had to remind myself of as events in the South Atlantic and the Gulf unfolded.”
He went on to reflect on the way that “war waged against the civilian population …has become as much a part of modern warfare as the conflict on the front-line.” “… we should also reflect on the breadth of mankind who have been, and are still being, affected by the horrors of war.”
His final thought was about us, as “those living the tomorrow for which others gave their lives. And we are fighting many battles, but thankfully at the moment ones that challenge us in different ways. As the events of the last two weeks have acutely reminded us, we live on a planet that desperately needs our love and care if it is to serve the tomorrows of our children and our children’s children as well it has served us. We live in a world that increasingly creates military, political and religious tensions and these are very real. Others are drawing up the strategies and plans of combat of which we, maybe unwittingly, are a part. So perhaps we are now the soldiers in the trenches of a very different battlefield but still have an important role to play.
“Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah wrote to the embattled nation of Israel: ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
“These words would have helped sustain generations of Christians struggling with conflict over the centuries and I hope will sustain us too in whatever struggles lie ahead.”
You can read the whole of Adrian’s address at this link.
This picture of a war memorial in Westbury-on-Trym, was taken in 2005 by Bob Brewer of Bristol: see this link for the original image from which this has been cropped.