Rector’s letter October 2018
The nights are already becoming chillier and longer, and the days full of the glories of Autumn with the rich hue of golds and browns and reds adorning our hedgerows and gardens. Your garden may also be like mine with fruit strewn across the lawn as we try and cope with the abundance that God provides. That of course reminds us that we are in the midst of our harvest celebration season, thanking God, thanking our farmers and all those who work in agriculture but also thanking all those who use the gifts God has provided usefully and with care.
However, this year, as we move on, let us also remember that we are now approaching the centenary of the armistice that silenced the guns at the end of the Great War. War is always a difficult subject and Remembrance Sunday the day we traditionally use to remember, is a difficult day for many. What is it all actually about?
One thought I would offer to you is that it is not a celebration of victory. When we look at all the wars fought since 1914, some would obviously seem a fight of good against evil, but there are many that just seem to have come out of the failure of diplomacy, to resolve what initially seemed a simple issue. Another instance we can consider are the webs of alliances that we create, forming powder kegs just waiting for a spark. The assassination of the Austrian heir in Sarajevo in 1914 was the spark that led to the Great War….and once lit, it was unstoppable. The world just exploded. This was not good against evil, or right against wrong, it was a war that no one was in control of yet millions of innocent lives were lost on both sides.
So perhaps that is where remembrance Sunday must have its focus; on innocent lives lost, on families that are grieving, on living with life changing injuries. All those who gave of themselves for others. Remembering them, not the issue. Recognising the sacrifice they gave. But most of all let us pray to God for love in our hearts and the ability to offer the hand of friendship and reconciliation to all those who were once opponents.
In Tealby this year there will a formal group remembrance service, at which a swathe of knitted poppies (over 1100) will be on display sweeping down from the heights of the church. Each poppy represents someone we know who has lost their life in conflict since 1914 and came from within our group of parishes. We remember them, we recognise their sacrifice and we pray for reconciliation in our divided world. Please keep these three words in your hearts.