This year Remembrance Sunday falls at a very appropriate point. 100 years ago, in the midst of the First World War, the Battle of Passchendaele took place. I’m sure there was much bravery shown – for example, a staggering 61 Victoria Crosses were awarded. I’m more taken though by the number of people who died there – over half a million.
Why don’t human beings learn from this history? Around the world people gather together each year to remember these dreadful events, but I fear we don’t remember well enough. If we did I don’t think we’d keep on doing it all again, I think we’d move heaven and earth to avoid another war.
When we meet on Remembrance Sunday, it will be in the shadow of one of the most serious risks of catastrophe that I can remember. North Korea seems hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons, and exacerbate the nervousness the world feels by sabre-rattling at the USA. Whilst the USA is led by a president who seems only able to respond by raising the temperature still further threatening destruction on a nuclear scale.
Does this worry you as it does me? As I prepare for this year’s Remembrance Service, one passage of scripture keeps coming back to me, a passage we will hear read at the service ...
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff – they comfort me.’ [Psalm 23.4]
Whatever happens in these dangerous times, I hold to my faith that God is with us – as should you.