‘Lest we forget’

 

Earlier this year I buried aDunkirkveteran.  He had been part of the British Expeditionary Force sent to defendFranceand had been badly injured, by an exploding shell, in the desperate rear-guard struggle to slow the Nazi advance.  He spent three days lying in the scorching heat, repeatedly experiencing the sand around him being machine-gunned, until he was brought home on one of the flotilla of little ships toEngland.  He was told that he would never walk again; only his determination to do so saw him defy the experts.

 

Sadly members of our armed forces continue to be injured today.  I attended a presentation from a British Army Medical Officer who had just returned from the Field Hospital inHelmand,Afghanistan.  Some of his pictures of injuries were not pleasant to see and were a serious reminder of the challenges the army, navy and air force have to deal with.

 

Every year at Remembrance we recall the loss of those who have died in war.  We also seek to help the living with the money raised by the poppy appeal.  When the Bible uses the word remembrance it means making an event from the past relevant to us right now.  That means we have an obligation to do something to work for a better world. 

 

I was moved by some words theDunkirkveteran had written in some recollections for his family. He said that he could never forget what had happened to him, but he could forgive. In the sermon on the mount Christ tells us that we must let go of the notion of ‘an eye for a eye’; instead we are told to ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’ (Matthew6:38, 44). By that I don’t think He ever meant let yourself be walked all over.  Rather Christ meant work for a change of attitude where we work to break the cycle of conflict, by rising above it.

 

Father Michael

Posted By: valerie

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