THE 10-MINUTE SERVICE FOR SUNDAY 11 movember 2012
Good morning Breege and good morning to all our listeners on this Remembrance Sunday. My name is Murdoch MacKenzie and towards the end of this short service of worship we will keep two minutes silence.
In Matthew chapter 5 and verse 9 we read these words: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.’
‘After the end of the world war of 1914 there was a deep conviction and almost universal hope that peace would reign in the world.’ With these words Winston Churchill begins his book THE GATHERING STORM. The phrase ‘ The war to end war’ was on every lip. When Marshall Foch, Generalissimo of the Allies, heard of the signing of the peace treaty of Versailles he observed with singular accuracy: ‘ This is not peace. It is an armistice for twenty years.’ And it is significant that the 11th of November continues to be known as Armistice Day and not the Day of The Peace.
Knowing what we now know of World War II, of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, of Korea and Vietnam, of Bosnia and Belfast, of Iraq and Afghanistan and of the more than 100 other wars which have raged around the world in the last 70 years, do not the mirrors of Versailles reflect a somewhat empty dream ?
And yet people died. Men, women and children, especially in two great wars, and we remember them with honour and with pride. For some of us, they were our relatives. My own son is named after one of them. And thus it is that at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
None of them wanted war. All of them died for peace. No-one who’s crouched in the mud in a trench, feeling in the dampness for a fag; no-one who’s flown sortie after sortie over the enemy lines; no-one who, like my father, has stood on deck in the utter stillness of a foggy night, on the North Atlantic Patrol, with bleary eyes peering out into the darkness; no-one who’s done these things has wanted war. But they gave us a chance to live, a chance to make something better of the world, a chance to honour them, not only with our lips, but with our lives. A chance to take the red poppies of Flanders Field and turn them into the white poppies of a new Millennium. A chance to remember the words of God as pronounced by the prophet Isaiah who said: ‘They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain:for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.’
But what is that knowledge and where is it to be found ? It is the knowledge of Jesus, the Prince of peace, and it is to be found in the Bible. Jesus who reveals to us the Beatitudes, the Beautiful Attitudes of the Living God. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.’ (Matthew 5:9) And in his parting words: ‘Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.’ (John 14:27) Jesus who teaches us wisdom ‘whose ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace’ (Proverbs 3:17). Jesus who fulfils the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace.’ (Isaiah 52:7) Jesus, at whose birth the angels sang: ‘ Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace.’ (Luke 2:14)
Jesus, whose words uttered as he caught sight of the holy city, Jerusalem, still ring in our ears: ‘ Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace.’ (Luke 19:41) With these words he was echoing the prophecies of the prophet Isaiah and of the prophet Micah, with their great vision of peace on earth, of people going to the mountain of the Lord ‘to beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks, so that nation would not lift up sword against nation, neither should they learn war any more but rather sit everyone under their vine and under their fig-tree, where no-one would make them afraid.’ (Isaiah 2:4 Micah 4:3-4)
And as we think about these things this morning let us bow our heads and our hearts and with the rest of the nation keep two minutes of silence.
TWO MINUTES SILENCE
And some there be which have no memorial, who are perished as though they had never been, and are become as though they had never been born. These were merciful men whose righteousness hath not been forgotten. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them. Their bodies are buried in peace And their name liveth for evermore. When you go home, tell them of us and say: ‘For your tomorrow, we gave our today.’
And now we sing: Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways …. Take from our souls the strain and stress and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of thy peace.
And now a Celtic Blessing
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of peace to you.