This is an auspicious year, 100 years since World War 1 ended. I am pleased that this is being celebrated nationally, and that the emphasis is on remembrance, not victory. This village is playing its part in the celebration with a series of events to mark the occasion: A Variety Show on Friday 9th November, a film show ‘Oh! What a lovely war’ on the Saturday evening, followed by lighting a beacon on the Village Green. Culminating in the Christians Together Service, with all three churches involved in the Parish Church on Sunday morning, followed by the Remembrance Service at the War Memorial, and bring-and-share community lunch in Victory Hall. I trust our church will be well represented at these events.
Of course it is not only those lost and injured during World War 1 which we are remembering, but all those from the other wars and conflicts in which our armed forces have been involved. Did you realise there have been thirty seven that I have been able to identify, to name but a few: World War 2, Korea, Suez, Indonesia/Malaysia Conflict, Nigerian Civil War, Gulf War, Bosnian War, Kosovo War, Afghanistan, Iraq; and our forces are currently engaged in Operation Shadar in the Middle East.
Viv and I put our son, Charlie, into God’s hands when he was a Royal Marine serving in both the Afghan and Iraq Wars, together with peace keeping in Northern Ireland, and we thank God (and still do) for the peace that He gave us, and for bringing Charlie safely home.
In the perfect world there would be no war or violent conflicts, but unless everyone accepts Jesus into their lives this will not be achieved. Therefore, the need to maintain effective and efficient fighting forces, especially in today’s world is essential. We need to pray for all who serve in our Armed Forces, and the job they do in keeping this country and its dependents safe. Most of us are unaware of all they are doing and of those who put their lives at risk daily, and this includes also members of our Police Force, especially in countering terrorism and violent crime.
We must continue to pray for, and that many of those who perpetrate evil around the world come to Jesus in repentance. We must also pray for all those who return from these conflicts with injuries, sometimes horrific, and the mental damage caused by what they have witnessed and been called to do. We must also pray for the families who suffer losses, and those who have to help and support the injured when they return, as very often these are life changing for the whole family.
I am proud to have once been a member of our Armed Forces, and I am proud of our Armed Forces today, who all need our full support. Many of you reading this will have either served, have had family, or lost relatives in one of the many conflicts and will know what it means to worry and suffer as a result.
Blessings to you all.