Day 91 – 94 3rd Nov – 6th Nov
Briefly back home before embarking on my final sabbatical journey for retreat time at Hilfield Friary (with craft) and in the silence and deep peace of Glasshampton monastery. It was good to see Christ Church in the hazy sun yesterday marking Remembrance. This is a special year as we mark 100 years from the 11th November 1918 – the armistice.
I remember when I was the curate in Basingstoke regularly visiting the ‘Miss Pinks’ for home communion. When it came to the 50th anniversary of VE day, I asked them what they did that day, and they obliged by telling me all about it. Miss Pink senior (well into her nineties at that point) then went on – “but I can also remember clearly what I did on Armistice Day”. She told me how as a child she had swung on the garden gate of the house she still lived in, waiting for her dad to come home from work early. It was a vivid picture and it had a deep impact on me at the time. Apparently swinging on the gate like that was not something her mother usually allowed her to do!
Miss Pink remembered, what we do now is “Remembrance”, which is active remembering of the memories of others, particularly those who served and died in conflict, and those injured and whose lives were never the same. It is important that we remember.
Jesus said this to us – No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. He was talking about his love laid down for us, which is beyond measure, but we live in relative peace and security as a result of all those we remember at this time of year and across the last century. It is really important we remember deeply through their memories and their actions, but for me the main purpose of remembering and this deep remembrance whether we are remembering those lost or injured through recent conflicts, the second world war or the great war, is to remember so that we in all that we are and all that we do seek peace and reconciliation. We remember to bring home to us the costliness of war. We remember to seek for peace and to always seek peace and to work together for peace in everything. We remember to seek this peace deep in the heart of our loving God
Closer to home I found in the archives of the South Nutfield Parish Magazine, this account of what happened in South Nutfield on armistice day – November 11th 1918. We can only wonder at the heartiness of the praise and thanksgivings in our village church as peace was announced.
I also took a picture of the poster in our poster box outside church – but as you can see it has mingled the image with a reflection of the present. An interesting and quite unintentional mix, but one that speaks of how these so significant actions of our past need to be remembered in our present and learnt from for our future.
The peace of the Lord be always with you…