We remember those who suffer as a result of conflict,
and ask that God may grant peace:
for the service men and women
who have died in the violence of war,
each one remembered by and known to God.
‘Each one lost is everyone’s loss*’.
‘The tears in our heart make an ocean we’re all in*’
May God’s love break down the walls that separate us
and guide us along the pathway of peace.
(*words from Bruce Cockburn’s beautiful song, Each One Lost)
We remember those who have died,
the generations who have suffered and communities ravaged because of the pride, arrogance, greed and ambition of men.
We commit to working with all our neighbours for peace, reconciliation and the common good of all people.
We disavow an unhealthy nationalism that glorifies violence
or believes your citizenship, skin colour or faith
makes you inherently more worthy
of safety, justice or prosperity than others.
We remember that war is hell.
(Source: Brad Chilcott, Facebook post 11.11.2018)
For those whom we have asked
to bear the horror of our violence
we offer our prayers
of thanks for their willingness
to stand between us and our fears,
for forgiveness for having asked them,
of healing for the damage to their souls
by what they have done and seen,
for mercy for them who don’t know
how to carry the horror back to us,
how to shed the darkness
we have asked them to drink,
how to live among us, who are so willing
to sacrifice our children.
May we give others peace to bear, not fear,
healing to carry, not weapons,
and send them into blessing, not danger.
May we, too, have the courage to serve,
to risk, to give our lives in love
for the sake of our homeland,
which is the Kingdom of God,
the whole human family,
in the spirit of peace. Amen.
Steve Garnaas-Holmes, www.unfoldinglight.net
Remembrance means different things to different people. For some, memories and a sense of loss are all too fresh and painful. This is something many of us can understand, though our particular traumas may be different. Sights, sounds, feelings which we long to be free of refuse to leave at our command, coming unbidden to flood us afresh with pain. Trauma we cannot escape lays in wait to bring us distress again. Reminders scratch at the scars of losses we thought we had recovered from, or at least accepted.
Remembrance is also about gratitude for sacrifice, again something we can understand even if we are fortunate enough to be decades from war. Many of us recognise what others have given up to allow us to live the lives we do.
Remembrance too holds out a hope for peace, a longing that we might learn to live together without violence, to find a way to embrace difference rather than seek to vilify or destroy it. It seems so elusive in our world, yet for those who seek to follow the Prince of Peace surely it must still be what we strive for?
Remembrance Sunday strikes a chord deep within us, because as well as whatever the traditional elements mean to us, we carry a deep seated fear of being forgotten. Perhaps it is important as we think about Remembrance Sunday, whatever it may mean to us, to hold on to the fact that God never forgets us, or those in our minds as we remember. We are never forgotten or forsaken.
(Source: Jeannie Kendall, Godspace)
Prayers for ongoing conflict and war
God, hear the cry of our hearts at the conflicts of the world. For the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, now in its ninth active month. We pray for a just resolution that prioritises peace and safety for the communities affected.
We pray for the ongoing situation in Iran, which is being felt deeply by Persian communities across the globe. May the veil of silence be lifted, and the oppressive regime be brought low. We pray for woman, life, freedom in Iran.
We pray for other places where conflict destroys lives and communities… (prayers are offered)
Once crimson poppies bloomed
out in a foreign field,
each memory reminds
where brutal death was sealed.
The crimson petals flutter down,
still hatred forms a thorny crown.
For in this present time
we wait in vain for peace,
each generation cries,
each longing for release,
while war still plagues the human race
and families seek a hiding place.
How long will human life
suffer for human greed?
How long must race or pride,
wealth, nationhood or creed
be reasons justifying death
to suffocate a nation’s breath?
For everyone who dies
we share a quiet grief,
the pain of loss remains,
time rarely brings relief,
and so we will remember them
and heaven sound a loud amen.
(Source: Words: Andrew Pratt; Tune: ‘Little Cornard’/Hills of the North)
O God, our ruler and guide,
In whose hands are the destinies of this and every nation,
We give you thanks for the freedoms we enjoy in this land
And for those who laid down their lives to defend them:
We pray that we and all the people of Australia,
Gratefully remembering their courage and their sacrifice,
May have the grace to live in a spirit of justice, of generosity, and of peace;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever. Amen
Adapted from A Prayer Book for Australia page 628
(more resources here)