Sermon for Sunday 14 November 2021, given in Kingstone Church as part of our Service of Remembrance.
Gospel: Mark 13.1-8
Remembrance Sunday is, for me, a very complex emotional journey. It represents so many things to so many people, all held in tension in this one moment of silence. My own list looks something like this:
We honour the fallen.
We lament at the lost.
We celebrate armistice.
We commit to ongoing memory the horrors and human cost of war.
We stand in solidarity with all who fight oppression.
We mourn that conflict is necessary at all.
We comfort those families with loved ones past and present in active service.
We support those whose service has ongoing mental, physical, and socioeconomic costs.
We long and hope for peace, and an end to conflict.
My list is, of course, just a small sample of the many thoughts, perspectives, experiences and emotions that will have been brought to this church today – you each will have your own list cycling through your heart and mind – some of it will be known by those around you, but some will remain private and deeply personal.
In our Gospel reading today, Jesus recognises the complexity of human conflict. He names the presence of war in the world, but tells his disciples not to be afraid when they hear of it. He invites them to a bigger picture – that human conflict is great tragedy, and yet there is hope – that the coming Kingdom is more powerful and enduring than any transient darkness in this world.
We cannot give up or give in to the voices that seek to lead us astray, that tell us that there will never be peace.
We must remain committed to the one who leads us in the ways of righteousness, in sure and certain hope of eternal life in the Living God, ourselves living each day as if we are already in the Heavenly Kingdom – working for peace, serving the weak and the vulnerable, challenging corruption and conflict, seeking the Kingdom in all of our actions.
Today, as we share in prayer and in Communion, I encourage you to offer whatever you are thinking or feeling to God:
God, who is of Love.
God, who is of Justice.
God, who is of Peace.
God of Mercy and Compassion,
of Hope, Joy, and Comfort,
of Consolation, Forgiveness and Reconciliation,
of Wholeness, and of Healing.
May God take your burdens and share in all your experiences.
May your pains be comforted and your joys be multiplied.
May you find peace in the Lord,
and may you carry that peace with you and within you wherever you go.
May you hold on to Hope.
And may the Spirit strengthen and embolden you
to share that hope in the world.