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Remembrance Day

I missed being at Wellfield yesterday morning! I heard you had a great time. As you know, I was at St Andrew's, speaking at the Remembrance Day service. There was a less pompous, quieter atmosphere this year than there sometimes seems to be at these things, I felt - perhaps because 112 more British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since last Remembrance Sunday. I always find it moving, and it is a truly important thing to consider the sacrifice of others on our behalf. But as I looked at the gathered crowd, it broke my heart to think that so many there do not know the wonderful life that Jesus brings.

Earlier this year we had the funeral of Marine Paul Warren at St Andrew's. A lot of his fellow Marines took part in the ceremony; and that evening I happened to be in the Eagle where they were all having a drink. They’d been drinking since the afternoon. And one lad sat on his own in the corner, near us, and made a few tearful phonecalls. Then he sat there quietly chucking up and sobbing, until his sergeant came over to talk to him.

He said, ‘Sarg - is this what it’s all about? I’ve lost two friends now. Is this what we do?’ And the Sergeant said (in a kind voice), ‘We just get up, and we get on with it. I’m going to give you 5 minutes to get yourself together, and get over there with the rest of us. But yes, we just get on and do what we do.’

I know he had to say that. And they were the words of a leader. And I understand that the Royal Marines is a hard living, hard drinking culture. And I am full of admiration for them, for what they do. But I want to say to all the lads like that, ‘We can do better! There is more!’ We can do better than train hard, work hard, and drown our sorrows. There is more to it: because there is a God, who has power over all.

I want to say to every person who feels that emptiness and worthlessness: - come back to God! With him, in the midst of death there is life. Why try and handle life without him, when we can’t? Why try and handle life without him, when what he holds out to us is so good? - Forgiveness; life; a future with no war. Why fight against him, when we could live life with him? Why settle for the pain of this world, when he holds out the gift of perfect everlasting life with him?
In the words of Psalm 46:
“Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

In a world that seems meaningless, uncertain, even disastrous sometimes - let’s remember that we find hope in the true God.