Remembrance Sunday (13th November) Written Service We thank the person who has prepared this service for us.


CALL TO WORSHIP
Jesus said: “Peace is my gift to you, my own peace, such as the world cannot give. Set your troubled hearts at rest, and banish your fears.”


HYMN 20 Be still, for the presence of the Lord the Holy One, is here;


Prayer
O dear Lord
We long to know you like this all the time
calming our busyness
steadying our rush and bustle
releasing our tensions
It can happen
there have been moments
when your glory has shone through
your power broken in
We rejoice that you pour out your love on us
even when we close our eyes to your splendour
that you work in our lives
deep within, where we hardly know you are there
for the noise we are making
That you come to us
and we can know you
God with us
around us
beneath us
above us
enfolding us in love
moving and stirring and changing us
Thank you, Lord
AMEN


Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as
it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who
trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, the
power and the glory, for ever and ever. AMEN.


Act of Remembrance
In churches and chapels, at war memorials and cenotaphs, we keep silence at eleven o’clock on the nearest Sunday to the eleventh day of the eleventh month. We gather and parade, wear uniforms and symbols of office, and stand together for two minutes. Someone may have tuned to the radio broadcast with its striking clock and echoing bugle, or we may simply have checked our own watches.
Wherever you are now, whether you are alone or with others of your household, I invite you to keep this silence. Keep it with the church parades and civic ceremonials, keep it with everyone who is using this written service. Keep it on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour. Keep it whenever you normally use this service, because there will be someone somewhere keeping it too.
Be still and silent for two minutes, and then say
“They shall grow not 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.”
(For the fallen, by Laurence Binyon)


Hymn STF 132 – O God our help in ages past

Reading Matthew 5 vv 1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to
him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


HYMN 707Make me a channel of your peace

Sermon
Time and again, reading the Gospel stories, I wonder what it was like to be there. To hear that voice saying
those words, and hear them for the first time. To stand on the edge of the crowd, or to sit on the rough grass,
surrounded by people who have come from all over the country for a chance to hear or see this famous
preacher and healer. Settling down has been a noisy business, friends calling friends, hands waving for
attention, small children wanting to sit on mummy’s lap, excuse-me’s and sorries as the unsettled step over
the settled, fidgeting to get comfortable, pebbles and twigs fished out from under, cloaks shaken out as
groundsheets or rolled up as cushions, all the buzz of a mass of people all in one place. But soon the noise
dies away. There are no microphones here. No sound systems. Just one man’s voice. The voice we have
come to hear. We have to listen hard. We have to sit very still, and keep very quiet.
Silence. We hear the birds and the wind. And then all we hear is Jesus.
It used to be hard, the two minutes silence at the library, on a normal working day. It isn’t easy to do when
you are on a public enquiry desk: you can’t just break off half-way through an enquiry. You can take the
phone off the hook, but you can’t refuse to answer when someone comes up and asks. Not everyone in the
building was keeping still. So there wasn’t complete silence: but we managed stillness. Not everyone was
part of the silence, but everyone was aware of the stillness, the pause in the usual frantic rush at the desk. I
do not know what went through my colleague’s minds, but I would think, as usual, about my Father and his
war, about my Grandfather and his war. I borrowed their memories.
And the memories of others: of the wife a of professional soldier I knew in London, who told me how she
sat on a bed in digs, pregnant, thinking of her husband, far away, and remembered all the other women in the
same situation whose husband would never come home.
The memory of Ron , who used to read the names from the Broomwood memorial window every
Remembrance Sunday, and who told me one evening that all the names on the 1939-45 list had been at his 21st birthday party.
I think of the rhythm of that list: all those men I did not know and would never get to know as I knew Ron.
All those men, and a single woman, right at the end: Gertrude May Till, killed by a buzz-bomb on Clapham Common. Her sister told me that she was too dignified to duck.
Not my memories. But something for me to remember in the silence.
I have a friend who always said she never knew what to think about until the Falklands, when friends from Plymouth were in the Task Force.
And there have been later conflicts for us to remember, later victims of war and terror, when keeping silence
has gained new meaning. The Twin Towers. The London Bombings: one of our members at Northam lost her grandson on the tube that day.
The two minutes silence on Remembrance Sunday remembers “those who have died”. Not the wars
themselves, the dry bones of date and battle, but human beings, with families and friends to mourn their loss.
So I borrow from family and friends memories to make those human beings real to me, so I can remember
when they cannot.
What happens in our heads – prayers, memories, thoughts – during the silence is for each of us alone. What
we share is the silence we stand in. It is a powerful thing, this silence. Two minutes of time set apart,
concentrated on a single theme and a single act. There may be other sounds, but they do not matter. Only the
striking clock, the booming gun, the bugler, a voice speaking familiar words, matter, framing the time we
share.
On a hillside in Galilee, we share time listening to Jesus. Still, silent, we listen to what he has to say. Now it
is so familiar. We almost have it by heart in one translation or another. As Jesus meant us to. No long
sentences, so difficult to follow. Jesus gives us his teaching in manageable chunks. Not easy chunks, but just
enough to remember, to sink in a little at a time. He makes patterns so we can anticipate what the next step
might be. We know these words. We have heard them before. The beginning of the Sermon on the Mount.
The Beatitudes. But there on that hillside we would not have heard it all before. It would have been new and
fresh.
Blessed are… those who know their own limitations…who grieve for the world’s pain…long for things to
change…show how human beings could behave to one another…the gentle, the unhurried, the patient.
These are not commandments. They are descriptions of the attitudes of mind and heart that qualify us for
citizenship of the Kingdom of Heaven. And, like all good sermons, we sit and wonder how much of this
applies to us. Perhaps we wriggle a little uncomfortably in our places, because we feel we aren’t as whole hearted as we should be. Jesus speaks of the people who influence others for good. Those who have
forgotten themselves. The pure in heart, who see God face to face. Is that us? Can we recognise ourselves?
And when we hear Jesus say “Blessed are those who are persecuted…Blessed are you, when you suffer for
my sake” we are no longer there on that hillside, listening for the first time to a vision of a world turned upside down, we are here, remembering the insults he suffered, and the weakness he endured when he had to lay down his active ministry and take up his cross.
This is the way things are changed. This is how the existing order is overthrown. Not by the exercise of political power, or by sending in armies, but by the changes in the attitudes of men and women, in hearts and minds listening to God, concentrating on him.
For two minutes we remember. We concentrate. We think of others. Those who are gone and those who will
come. Remembering pain, we hope for healing. Remembering grief, we hope for justice. Remembering
war, we hope for peace.
Blessed are the sorrowful, for they shall find consolation. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst to see
right prevail, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be called God’s children.
Blessed are you…


HYMN 693 Beauty for brokenness



Intercessions
Merciful God
we remember
Two world wars
and all the other conflicts within our lifetimes
we remember the cost in lives lost, bodies broken,
the dreadful memories at the back of men’s minds
ready to awaken at a word, a photograph, a headline
For all who still pay the price of war
with memories eighty or fifty, fifteen or five years old
we ask your healing touch
your grace and mercy
LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER
AND GRANT US PEACE
Holy Spirit
Comforter
for many war is not a memory but a present reality
we cannot comprehend the numbers
the thousands living in fear of bullets, bombs and landmines
the thousands driven from their homes
the thousands packed in refugee camps
For all who still pay the price of war
with fresh and bitter memories
of loved ones lost and homes destroyed
Bringer of order out of chaos
brood over our troubled world
bring new hope and new beginnings
LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER
AND GRANT US PEACE
Jesus, Saviour
you give us peace
beyond the world’s giving
may we share that peace with others
be known as peace makers and children of God
by the way we stand
by the words we say and the silence we share
we remember before you the people we will meet this week
family, friends, neighbours, strangers
the ones we meet with delight
and the ones we meet with sinking hearts.
Give us courage and hope
sympathy and laughter
LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER
AND GRANT US PEACE
7God our help, God our hope
we do not know how you will answer our prayers
in what way peace will come
we only know that you are always with us
in the promise fulfilled
in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
AMEN


HYMN 495 Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways;

Blessing
May the peace of God that passes all human understanding keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and
love of Christ Jesus our Lord. AMEN