Remembrance Past And Future

22 11 2014

Remembrance Sunday this year will be a very special occasion as we mark the one hundredth year since the beginning of what became the First World War.  It should give us great pause for thought, not least because we are currently involved again in a very different kind of war in the Middle East.  The guns may fall silent at 11am in Europe but they certainly will not in Iraq.  We also find ourselves in a political debate about the future of a European Union which was originally designed precisely to prevent the kind of wholesale carnage we saw twice in the 20th century.  We would do well to remember that.

For Christians this act of remembrance leads us in two very different directions.  On the one hand it causes us to revisit the whole question of when violence is ever justified.  The currency of the term “just war” has been much devalued – a war is not just simply because a politician says so.  On the other hand the Bible seems to recognise that sometimes the only way to restrain a greater evil is by force – and ISIL do not seem willing to speak any other language.  But behind that lies a deeper and harder question.  What, as Jesus once asked, are the things that make for peace, and how can we be the kind of peacemakers whom Jesus said God would bless?

When we look at the Middle East we need to avoid simply taking sides, and instead to ask what are the deep seated hurts and injustices which fuel the brutality that we see.  People are not born as masked killers.  A long and avoidable series of steps lead them to that point.  To paraphrase an older political slogan, we need to be not just tough on terrorism but equally tough in engaging with the causes of terrorism.

The Christian calling is also to model reconciliation.  How can we do that when different streams of Christianity are still so slow to put aside their differences?  How can we do that when individual Christians are sometimes so reluctant to let go of their personal grudges and conflicts?

How do we change the world?  We do it one person at a time, and it starts with ourselves.  It’s important to remember the past.  It’s also vital to remember that we make the future by how we act now.

Best wishes




2 responses

11 01 2015

Nice Blog, thanks for sharing this kind of information.

11 01 2015

Nice Blog, thanks for sharing this kind of information.

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