It is indeed that time of the year again and these words will echo up and down the and this November 13th as we pause in remembrance.
The words come from John’s Gospel and are uttered by Jesus as he talks with his friends about what he can see will be his impending death. His death was his choice, he could have walked away from what was to transpire in the coming 24 hours, but he didn’t.
As we approach Remembrance our thoughts will turn to the many thousands who, facing impending battle, did not turn away but went ‘over the top’ – literally for many on the Western Front. By 1918 the pattern of fighting was well established and all involved knew the odds, knew what taking to the air, sailing the waves or climbing to the top of the trench ladder would probably mean.
We know today, hindsight is amazing, that for many there was no choice, they simply had to follow the orders. But for all this was their gift to their friends; it was their present for our future. Looking to human history my heart sometimes sinks that we are really a very stupid species; you would think that in remembering the past and the mistakes made, the blood shed, we would change and choose something different; but we seem hooked on making the same choice every time.
People lead busy lives today and there are many things that come our way on any day. But this year I wonder if everyone who can physically make it to a Remembrance service or parade will do so. It may be raining, it may be cold, we may not get a seat and it may be a little boring, however I wonder if we might owe just a few hours of time to those who gave their lives for us.
Here is the Rector’s challenge to each and every one who live in Ilchester, Limington, Yeovilton, Bridgehampton, Speckington and Podimore – come and remember, pay your respects, give something in thanksgiving for those who gave everything they had – their lives, for our today they gave their tomorrow! And more in the silence of each act of remembering I wonder if we might also make a promise to be different, to change, to choose peace instead of violence, grace instead of judgment, love instead of hatred.