The sun shines, my study is bathed in light and, for a moment at least, this is a place of peace. Peace, for many, is a rare pleasure as the world is becoming increasingly fractious once more.
Several years ago I visited the vast memorial overlooking the WW1 battlefields around the French fortress town of Verdun. I was struck by the oft repeated mantra there of ‘never again’; knowing that ‘again’ was a mere 20 years away; born, in part, out of the very steps intended to guarantee peace.
Today we don’t need to look far to find wars and rumours of war. This is not the place to dig deeply into the rights and wrongs of, for example, events in Ukraine or the Holy Lands; except to make one observation. Each conflict is rooted in history and, like the combatants around Verdun a century ago, the warring sides look for their security in the controlling of those they fear. This is human nature. Jesus recognised that had he been king of an earthly kingdom his followers would have fought to protect him (Jn 18:36). However, when one of his disciples drew a sword to prevent his arrest, Jesus stopped him (Lk 22: 50,51). Here is his unique contribution.
Jesus’ cross, leading as it does, through death to eternal life, breaks the very human spiral of violence. As an 18th Century hymn puts it; Abel’s blood for vengeance cried, Jesus’ for our pardon cries . This weekend we are called, once more, not just to remember but to honour those who have died in the wars of the last century or so; who gave their lives that we might live in freedom and peace. Sadly, there remains a place for armed conflict, but it can’t deliver peace without reconciliation and a willingness to share space. This Remembrance-tide, let us remember what others gave, and continue to give for our peace and be thankful. And let us show our gratitude by praying and working for the reconciliation and sharing that makes for lasting peace.
Rev’d Philip Payne Remembrance 2023 The Notice Sheet for 12th November can be found here
 Glory be to Jesus, who in bitter pain (paraphrased)