Vicar's Viewpoint - November 2018
"Greater love hath no man than this…
that he lay down his life for his friends"
These words of Jesus will echo across the country and commonwealth at this year’s Remembrance Sunday services. And of course this year’s Remembrance Sunday is a special commemoration for a number of reasons:
Firstly - it is 100 years since the Great War ended in armistice in 1918.
Secondly - this year, unusually, Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday are both on the 11th of the 11th
and our Hardwicke Service begins at 11am.
The “greater love” quotation above is a statement which helps those who remember to understand the cost of war. This love demands sacrifice and courage way beyond the love which is our experience
in the everyday life of the population at large.
There is another angle to this truth however.....
The love for equals is a human thing... the love of friend for friend, brother for brother.
It is relatively easy to love what is lovely and loving in return. The world smiles at this.
The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing... the love for those who suffer, those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, it is sometimes quite costly, and it touches the heart of the world.
The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing... to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the outcast for the privileged.
This is very unusual, and the world is always bewildered by its saints.
And then there is the love for the enemy... love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens and inflicts pain. This love is humanly speaking almost impossible - this is the tortured one’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love. It is Christ’s quality of love. It conquers the world.
(From “The Magnificent Defeat” by Frederick Buechner)
On Remembrance Sunday, as we reflect for a while on the cost of war and the sacrifice of so many lives, we should be aware that even in the most darkest and brutal and heart wrenching experiences of conflict,
love was not done to death, but still shone in the darkest and most unlikely of places.
Vicar of Hardwicke, Elmore and Longney Churches