Sunday Reflection 8.11.20

Sunday Morning Reflection   8.11.20   

Good Morning , I am Karen Harbison, the Minister of Westburn Parish Church , Greenock and I am glad to welcome you  to this time of worship. Everyone is welcome, whether you are often at Westburn Parish Church, or whether you have never been there in person before. Everyone is welcome as we, each in our own places, our own homes, come to worship God.

Today in our worship online, by phone and in person we mark Remembrance Day. As with so many things, the way we do that this year has to be different. This time of worship  includes silence for our remembering. You may be watching or listening at different times of the day… all of our silences and all of our remembering are heard by God.

Opening words

The poppy sways in the breeze

The candle flickers in the darkness

The silence echoes in the stillness

And we are called to remember

Act of Remembrance

Among us and between us

there are spaces

left by those

for whom war was the greatest cost

soldiers and nurses

land army and lumber jills

the blitzed and the terrorised.

Among us and between us

there are spaces we cannot fill with poppies

clear shadows in our families and communities

whose space we cannot fill

‘They shall not grow 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

2 minute silence

In honour of all those who gave so much,

in response to God’s call to love

we give our pledge to keep on remembering well,

to keep on living in hope,

to keep on working for peace

that God’s kingdom might come here on earth

as it is in heaven.

Amen

Let us pray

Loving God
beyond all that we can say or do
we  have offered our silence

pause

Not because we have nothing to say
but because we can say nothing

pause

So from our silences today
may there come a response
not of words
but of truth
a choice

to live with gratitude

to live with humility

to live with respect

to live with love

that draws us towards each other

and brings us together as sisters and brothers

knowing that we are all your beloved children lives have beentu

And hear us as we pray as Jesus  taught

Our Father who art in heaven

hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts

as we forgive our debtors.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil

for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory

Now and forever . Amen

Reading

Isaiah 2 : 1 – 5, John 15 : 11 – 17

Remembrance Day ceremonies often take place at a memorial or cenotaph where the names of those who have been lost due to war are listed. In Westburn Parish Church we have various memorials which list 267 names from WW1 and         from WW2. Names, rank , age , where the person died. It is sad to read the list of names and we know there are other lists of names of people who were not in battle but yet who suffered due to war and other lists of names from other conflicts. These are never just lists of names for each name represents a person with a story , a family, friends, hopes, dreams, each name represents a person , a unique, valued and loved person.

Perhaps today you are thinking of a particular person from your family or community.

In this year of 2020 when we have experienced much loss and heartache , anxiety and uncertainty our remembering has a special poignancy. The stories of Florence Nightingale and Louisa Jordan , who did so much to care for those who were injured during times of war , have been highlighted in the naming of the hospitals opened to help care for people in 2020.During this year the key role and selfless service of doctors, nurses and all key workers has been recognised.

Linking  remembrance and some of our recent experiences I would like to tell you some of the story of Edith Cavell who lived from 1865 – 1915. She was a nurse who became a teacher of nurses, someone who saved the lives of soldiers from all sides of the conflict without distinction and someone who became involved in the underground resistance movement , helping over 200 people to get back safely to the UK. She was  arrested and killed on 12th October 1915. Perhaps people hearing her story today think of her as a heroine , as brave but that is probably very different to how she saw herself. She saw herself as an ordinary person who loved dancing and painting and walking her dogs. She never expected monuments to be built in her memory . She knew from a young age that she wanted to do something to help others. When she was young she said’ Some day, somehow, I am going to do something useful. I don’t know what it will be. I only know that it will be something for people, for many are so helpless, so hurt, so unhappy. ‘. Edith’s compassion, sense of responsibility and duty led her to treat everyone who came to her hospital wounded, just as she would have wanted someone to treat anyone in her family. The day before she died she said ‘ Standing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone’ One person\s story. More than a name on a list as are all the stories of all those we remember.

And because we remember we choose now to live in ways which bring in God’s kingdom of hope and justice and generosity and compassion and justice and love. May it be so among us Amen.

Let us hear the Word of God

Bible Reading – Isaiah 51 : 1 – 4,Ephesians  5: 8 – 11

Reflection

Let us pray

God of peace and God of justice, on a day of remembrance

 we bring to mind all those who serve our nation:

for those in the armed forces who around the world put their lives at risk;

for those in positions of leadership who have choices to make and to whom we look for guidance; for those in healthcare and social care who tend those who need support,

for those in education who prepare us in our lives,

for those protecting us, from police to fire services, paramedics to security,

 we give thanks for them all and so many others, for their work and commitment.

May they remain vigilant and dedicated, keen to serve others,

and make this world a more just, a more peaceful, a healthier place to live

God of all being and God of coming,

we recognise you at work in the here and now,

and at work to bring about the future.

We know you look to us to strive and yearn towards the coming days,

that we can be part of a world that seeks to heal and not stoke division,

that seeks to build bridges of care and support,

that seeks to lift up the poor and disadvantaged,

that seeks to bring about your kingdom one action, one word at a time.

od of love and God of expectation,

we pray for all people who feel lost and abandoned,

who feel they have no value,

who feel the pressures of financial loss, job loss, and a loss of purpose.

May they know your love and experience your support through communities that care and reach out to help.

Be with us all, Lord God, that we might be your eyes and ears,

your hands and feet, your heart and soul, wherever we find need.

 In your name we pray. Amen.

 Blessing

Go now into the world remembering the stories of  the past,  making a difference in the story of today and preparing the way for the story of tomorrow for God is in all our stories and God’s story is one of love.

And may the blessing of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you today and always . Amen

And as we go we hear the tune of Make me a channel of your peace

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