It is that time of the year again, a time to remember. But a time to remember what? Is this a time to remember and glorify war? A time to remember and glorify peace? A time to remember and grieve? A time to remember and celebrate? I have heard all of those and many more besides. I remember at this time of the year because I can’t not remember; but I can’t not remember all of the year.
Remembrance Day for me is a season where everyone is more like me than usual. I’m not entirely sure why I can’t not remember but I would be very much surprised if a week goes by when I don’t have the sort of feelings and memories that other folks get now. I don’t mention it as anything special just one of those things that makes me a bit different.
One of our Lectionary texts took us explicitly into remembering this week and it seemed providential that I should actually preach on the theme of remembering and Remembrance Day, which is a first for me. Apparently not a first for me only, one of the older members of one of the congregations told me that this was the first time she had ever experienced a full Remembrance service where even the sermon was concerned about Remembrance Day. I was simultaneously gratified that I was able to do this for her, she appreciated it, but sad that it had never happened for her before.
Knox Presbyterian Remember
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Remember
I hope that everyone has a good Remembrance Day. I know that what that looks like is very different for everyone and I am not here to tell anyone how they should Remember. I’ll limit myself to a quotation and an exhortation. The quotation is from George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The exhortation is simply,
As I was listening to you talking about remembering I was waiting for the National Remembrance ceremony to begin. They do quite a nice job of going from face to face throughout the crowd. The veterans of course, but also of others from infants to teens to adults and all stages of each.
It struck me how different the memories surrounding this ceremony was from the oldest to the youngest. At first I was thinking of how the oldest veterans there would have these mixed memories of unimaginable horror and incredible joys. Which I’m pretty sure is true. However, as they looked at others in the crowd it struck me that, while war concentrates the horror and the joy, it’s not the only source of both of those experiences. From the very young to the veterans there are stories of loss and heartache, hope, joy and miracles.
It made me think of our lives where we’ve had some bad days, but also some incredibly good ones too. God is good throughout the mix of crap and craziness just as much as in the times of peace, love and serenity.
Thanks for being a regular rememberer. It makes a difference to my quality of life.