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Virtual Worship - 14 November 2021

Remembrance Sunday


Call to worship

Jesus said: Blessed are the peacemakers;
they shall be called the children of God.
The peace of the Lord be with us all.

We gather on screen, in homes, young and old, servicemen and women and their families, and those who have no connection to the armed forces, but who come to remember and give thanks for those who put themselves in the line of fire for the sake of the people of their country.

We remember those who have given their lives in conflicts past and present; those who have sacrificed their physical and mental health; those who have lost loved ones and those who are in situations of war and fear.

And as we remember, we commit ourselves to work for the goal of all people living together in peace, justice and freedom.

Song: 

O God, our help in ages past (StF 132/HP 358/MP 498/SF 415)

Prayers of adoration and confession

Lord our God, Lord over all,
higher than we can imagine
and closer than our very breath,
we bring you our worship and praise.
Your words speak us into being;
you make us in your image;
you breathe the breath of life into our lungs;
you see all that you have made
and you declare it very good.
You seek us when we are lost;
you come close when we are afraid;
you encourage us when we are anxious.

Forgive us
when we would make you our God and not also the God of the other;
when we forget to see your face in the face of the one next to us;
when we imagine that you have favourites.
Forgive our pride and our lack of understanding;
our refusal to forgive and our closed hearts.

Help us to remember that as you love us,
so we are to love one another.

You offer us full and free forgiveness;
help us to offer it to those who have hurt us
and those whom we hurt.

In the name of Jesus who loves us,
Amen.

Remembrance Reflection

The Methodist Church has produced some videos of army chaplains reflecting on Remembrance. Here is Revd Richard Smith, an Army Chaplain, talking about what Remembrance will mean for soldiers this year.


Hi everybody, my name is Padre Richard Smith. I’m a Methodist minister who’s an army chaplain, and I’ve been asked to say a few words about what Remembrance means in the modern army today.

I’m here in the Oosterbeek Commonwealth War Graves preparing for the Arnhelm Commemorations and you can see behind me people are preparing for that ceremony.

I’ve been an army chaplain since 2003 and have served all around the world, perhaps most importantly in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that’s perhaps the message really for how solders will view Remembrance this year and how they view it in many years. Most solders are not thinking about World War Two or World War One, even though we remember those moments and they are important to us as well. We’re mostly remembering people from Northern Ireland, from the Bosnian campaigns, from the Falklands, and perhaps most importantly for us currently, from Iraq and Afghanistan – people that we know who haven’t come back from those conflicts, and so in that moment’s silence, that’s what we will be remembering.

Perhaps this year more than ever the events of Afghanistan have changed how we feel this year, and we will be thinking of Afghanistan, its people and everybody that we lost in that particular campaign, and all those who are hurting because of all the recent events.

And so we will pray for peace, for a continued peace across the globe, and remember these people [gesturing behind him to the War Graves] as well as those more recent and those known to us. Thank you.

Reading

In our remembering, let us remember also the promises of God as Isaiah received them, in Isaiah 2:2-5

Responsive reading: Psalm 46 (StF 810/HP 850)

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,
and though the mountains tremble in the heart of the sea;
Though the waters rage and swell,
and though the mountains quake at the towering seas.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place of the dwelling of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; therefore she shall not be removed;
God shall help her at break of day.
The nations are in uproar and the kingdoms are shaken,
but God utters his voice and the earth shall melt away.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come and behold the works of the Lord,
what destruction he has wrought upon the earth.
He makes wars cease in all the world:
he shatters the bow and snaps the spear and burns the chariots in the fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations;
I will be exalted in the earth.’

The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Song: 

Eternal Father, strong to save StF 517/HP 379/MP 122/SF 1222)

Reading: 

Matthew 5:1-11

Act of Remembrance

Let us remember before God
those who have died for their country in conflict;
the ones known to us, whose memory we hold dear;
the ones we did not know, who were loved by others;
and all who have lived and died in the service of humanity.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.
We will remember them.
We will remember those we knew and give thanks for all that they have given for us, as we watch a slideshow of war memorials, rolls of honour and poppy displays, from within the Bradford North Circuit and beyond.

When you go home tell them of us and say:
‘For your tomorrow we gave our today.’

Remembrance memories from the Revd Paul Mellor (RAF chaplain)

My first real memories about Remembrance come from my days in the Boys Brigade, at the War Memorial in our South Yorkshire village, on cold November mornings. As The Last Post was played, I used to look at the gathering of children and parents from the uniformed youth organisations, huddles of teary-eyed women and an ever-dwindling number of old men wearing medals. As we dutifully stood to attention for the two minutes’ silence, I recall shivering and wondering: “What am I doing here?”

In early March 2003, just two years after joining the RAF as a chaplain, I found myself huddled with 30 to 40 others in a concrete air-raid shelter, in Kuwait. Dressed in helmet, body armour, a chemical protection suit and a respirator, as an Iraqi cruise missile landed in the camp, I recall the realisation that there were people who were trying to kill me. At that moment, I again asked God the question: “What am I doing here?”

Between 2006 and 2009, sadly there were more than 80 occasions when I stood on the tarmac at RAF Lyneham waiting with a family for the return of a husband, wife, son or daughter, mum or dad, who had been killed on operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. And as each family allowed me to share in the pain of one of the worst days of their life, I prayed internally: “Lord, what am I doing here?”

My belief is that the answer in each of those circumstances was very similar, because each indicated hope. Hope that the cost of war and conflict would not be too easily forgotten by future generations. Hope that during times of violence and aggression there would always be people who symbolise peace and reconciliation. And, finally, hope that in the worst of circumstances life throws at us, we are not alone.

Hope

In 2018 you may have heard a recording, based on sound ranging, of gunfire fading away at 11.00am on the 11th day of the 11th month, the end of the First World War. As the guns fall silent a bird can be heard singing.


The sounds of the guns and the complete change of mood when they fell silent and the birds could be heard, inspired me to write the following, and I called it:

‘Hope Sang’ – Christine Crabtree

Had hell broken out on earth?
Guns fired and shells flew;
Craters opened up and the ground
Beneath our feet was no longer secure.
Men fought men, shot men,
Maimed men, killed men.
Madness reigned.
And yet, woven in between, men
Looked out for one another;
Saw truth in one another;
Shared smokes and lives with comrades;
Played football with the enemy;
Exchanged gifts with those who fought them.
Hope was there –
Blood-red like poppies
It grew through the ravaged earth
And made its presence felt –
Fragile but persistant,
Growing from seed to flower.


Finally, an end. A paper;
Signatures; a deadline.
The hour struck.
Guns were stilled
And the war fell silent.
Peace broke out and Hope sang
In the breast of a bird
Opening its beak and
Calling to all who heard:
“Here is hope. Here is peace.
From here we can go on.”

Song: 

Make me a channel of your peace (StF 707/hp 776/ MP 456/StF 381)

Prayers

Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace,
we bring our prayers before you.
Hear us and, by your Spirit,
move in answer to our pleas.
And if you move by urging us to action,
help us to be ready to respond.

I offer myself to you:
Make me a channel of your peace.

We bring before you those who have been, and are, in situations of conflict.
We remember our Army, Navy and Air Force and thank you for their service.
We ask you to hold gently those who have suffered loss:
of life, of health, of peace, of loved ones;
and bring them your comfort
and hope for the future.

I offer myself to you:
Make me a channel of your peace.

We remember those who suffer
war on their doorstep;
those who live in fear;
those who are without food and shelter
because of fighting;
parents who try to shield their children from snipers.

I offer myself to you:
Make me a channel of your peace.

We remember peace-keepers
seeking to turn people away from violence
and toward reconciliation.
We remember those who bring aid,
food, shelter, and a friendly smile
to those who have known trauma.

I offer myself to you:
Make me a channel of your peace.

Wherever I can say a peaceful word,
embrace a brother or sister,
share my food with the hungry,
or make room in my life for another,

I offer myself to you:
Make me a channel of your peace.

We pray for our Queen as she rests,
and for the family she loves and holds together;
we pray for those who lead our country
and serve their people;
we pray for those making decisions that will affect the very fabric of our earth.

I offer myself to you:
Make me a channel of your peace.

As children of your peace,
members of the human family, let us pray together the words of the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

Song: 

Our closing song speaks of the vows made by those who serve to protect us, and of the vows we make to our heavenly country of peace.

I vow to thee, my country

Blessing

We go into the word as people of peace
and commit ourselves never to return evil for evil
but always to seek the good of all
and to see the good in all.
And may the Lord bless us and keep us,
may he make his face shine upon us and be gracious to us,
may he look on us with kindness and give us peace.
Amen.

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