Musings from the Manse
This has been a week of Remembering, I watched two Remembrance services on Sunday, our own service led by Alan Anderson and the service from the Cenotaph, something I am not usually able to do as I am taking part in the Remembrance service and parade at the War Memorial in Blairgowrie.
It made me wonder about how many soldiers and civilians turned to God during the Wars, those who had had very little to do with the Church beforehand. That is probably reflected in some ways today. I wonder how many people have turned to God as this pandemic has threatened the lives of so many people? How many who had not paid much heed to God before.
I always find that Remembrance services take us back to the ultimate question of the absence or presence of God. God is present no matter where we are; even if we travel to the moon and back, God is there
In Psalm 139, the psalmist writes of the fact that there is nowhere you can go to escape God. God is with us at all times and in all circumstances. I hope that though might bring comfort to some who are struggling at this present time. You are not alone because God is with you. Not only is He with you but He understands what you are going through. This is a thought that probably kept many soldiers going during their times of battle.
On Saturday I watched the 2020 Festival of Remembrance from a very empty Royal Albert Hall, always something I enjoy and this year for me especially poignant. For me the Highlight of this Year’s festival was Flight Lieutenant Laura Foster who carried in the Book Of Remembrance, Laura works full time on an Intensive Care unit, where she has, this year, cared for many coronavirus victims. She is also a part time RAF reservist and served in Afghanistan in 2011, Laura described the first wave of the pandemic as worse than what she faced there.
Laura said that as she carried the book of Remembrance this year, she would not only be thinking of those soldiers who died whist she was deployed in Afghanistan but all the Health Care workers around the world who had given their lives fighting the coronavirus.
In times of trouble (like present times) we need to remind ourselves that God is ‘our refuge and our strength.’ The Psalmist knew what he was talking about! As we remember those who sacrificed their lives for us in war, and those who have lost their lives or livelihoods to Covid, let us also remember the One who sacrificed His life on a cross. He will never leave you or forsake you – no matter where you are!
Our God, who was willing to pay that price on a cross for us, is the One who walks with us daily on our journey. He is the One who inspires us to live our lives in a way that is worthy of the sacrifices, made by others, on our behalf.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, after this week of remembering, we bring you our prayer of thanks for all you do in our hearts and our lives
We thank you for every memory we have of those whose words and deeds have reflected your goodness and love;
For those who gave their own lives that ours may be full and free;
We thank you for that great expression of their love
And we thank you for those today who stand for the truth, no matter the cost to themselves.
We thank you that we can remember, and that in remembering, the care, love, hope and sacrifice of others is never lost.
Lord, be with all whose remembrance is painful even to this day.
We give thanks for all whom we are remembering;
For those whose deeds and words have changed our lives
And for those whose words and deeds have made Christ real for us.
Father, we thank you for this assurance that you remember our names and that you can always be found close to us.
Help us always to trust in you and to love, honour and serve you in all that we do.
For in doing this, we honour the sacrifices made on our behalf.
Rev Nik Wooller
15th November 2020