Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Remembrance Day 2013

This is a day for remembering — remembering those who sacrifice their own security and safety to secure our freedom.  It is a day to remember that life is precious — that all of us are valuable — that we need each other — that we are called to be a people who look out for one another.  We want the best for the other person, and let me remind you that it is not that way in some parts of the world.

The reason we need a day for remembering is because sometimes our memories fail us.  We either loose touch with the reason behind the day, or we forget to uphold the truths, rights, and freedoms secured for us by those who went before us. We live in a land of hope and promise, and we take that for granted.

Hope can be described as a light shining in the darkness — a touch point that leads the way out of despair — encourages us on our journey — keeps us on track for the right outcomes.  When life gets difficult, we hold onto hope.  When accidents happen, we have hope that our medical teams will come to the rescue.  When the fires burn, we have hope the firefighters will extinguish the flames.  When disaster strikes, we have hope in the first responders to protect us.  And when enemies threaten us, we have hope that our troops will protect us.

As this is the year to honour our Korean War veterans, we think back to June 1950.  As the army from North Korea invaded the south, we heard the cry, “I hope someone will come to our rescue.”   We did, and the rescued people held onto a renewed hope.  While war is messy and creates other issues while solving some issues, Canadian troops have been a sign of hope to millions around the world.

1 John 3:16-18      We know what real love is because Jesus laid down his life for us. So we also ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has resources to help and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

You first responders and military of our society are the ones who lay down your lives for us, and we thank you deeply.  We encourage you in your task of serving and protecting our community.  You bring hope to troubled times.

This is a day for hope.  We hope that wars will cease to the ends of the earth.  We hope that we will continue to live in freedom.  We hope that there will always be someone to defend us when necessary.  We hope that any new conflict will end quickly.  We hope our own families will be able to get along.

We also hope that our health-care system will be there for us.  We hope that our environment hold out.  We hope that the sex-trade children in Thailand will have a better life.  We hope that factory workers in India will have a safe workplace.  We hope that the victims in the Philippines will get relief help.  And in true Canadian fashion, we need to take seriously how we can help these things happen.  We can be providers of hope in troubled times.

But, our hope must have a secure foundation in order to be real hope.  King David wrote:
Some nations boast of their chariots and horses,
    but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.      Psalm 20:7

The prophet Isaiah commented:
Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.     Isaiah 40:30-31

When all else fails, and life seems to crumble around us...  When you are standing alone with nothing else on which to hold, nothing else in which to hope, you need something secure.

Again, Isaiah writes:
So the Lord is patiently waiting
    so he can show you his love and compassion.
For the Lord is a faithful God.
    Blessed are those who wait for his help.
Isaiah 30:18

I am always reminded of the mission of Jesus, who at the beginning of his ministry, quoted these words:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
    that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
    and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.
Luke 4:18-19

Remembrance day should spur us on to love and good deeds – to be the kind of people who bring hope into a troubled world.

I will end with a prayer from apostle Paul:
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17     Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.

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