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notre dame montreal

Remembrance Sunday

Year B, Red

Introduction

Many countries have a special day to remember those that fell in their wars.  In France this is Armistice Day, and in America, Veterans Day.  In Britain we commemorate those who fought, and are still fighting, in wars for their country on Remembrance Day which is always held on 11 November.  It was on this day that World War One ended in 1918, when the armistice was signed in Compiègne, Northern France, at 5am.  Six hours later, the fighting stopped, and in commemoration this there is a two minute silence in the UK at 11am, every 11 November.  The period of silence was first proposed by a Melbourne journalist, Edward George Honey, in a letter published in the London Evening News on 8 May 1919, which subsequently came to the attention of King George V, who on 7 November, 1919, the king issued a proclamation which called for a two-minute silence: ‘All locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.’  In our increasingly busy lives it is important too that we pause and remember those who have died in the cause of freedom, and pause and remember too He who died to give eternal life so that we all could be truly free. Sam Cappleman

Opening Sentence

Psalm 121: 1-2

I lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Collect Prayer of the Day

Before we read we pray

Almighty father, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of all: govern the hearts and minds of those in authority, and bring the families of the nations, divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin, to be subjected to his just and gentle rule; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

God our refuge and strength, bring near the day when wares will cease and poverty and pain shall end, that earth may know the peace of heaven through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Eternal God, in whose perfect realm no sword is drawn but the sword of justice, and no strength known but the strength of love: guide and inspire all who seek your kingdom, that peoples and nations may find their security in the love which casts out fear; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen.

 

First Bible Reading

Micah 4: 1-8
In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Every man will sit under his own vine  and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever. "In that day," declares the LORD,  "I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief. I will make the lame a remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever. As for you, O watchtower of the flock, O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem.

Second Reading

Romans 8:31-end

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:  "For your sake we face death all day long;  we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Third Reading

1 Corinthians Chapter 15:50 end

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.


Post Communion Sentence

God of peace, whose Son Jesus Christ proclaimed the kingdom and restored the broken to wholeness of life: look with compassion on the anguish of the world, and by your healing power make whole both people and nations; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 


Commentary

Today’s readings speak of the hope and assurance we have as a Christian people that God is with us and for us on our journey to our eternal future, whatever we may encounter on the way.  The prophet Micah speaks of a brighter and peaceful future where nation will not take up sword against nation, nor train for war anymore.  Paul in his epistles assures us that our labour and our service on this earthly world are not in vain.  We may not know what he future holds for us but we do know who holds the future for us.  In the words of Paul, God invites us to leave behind the perishable world in order that we can inherit the imperishable through a life of obedience and service to Him.

There is a parallel between our readings and the many men and women who we remember today who were also called up for service.  They too probably had no precise idea of what lay before them, but responded to the call to leave behind the security they knew to go and serve their country.  For some there may have been a sense of anticipation of what lay before them, for others a strong sense of a duty to be undertaken for their monarch and country, and for yet others, perhaps a sense of anger, foreboding or even the futility of war.  Whatever the reason, they went.  And for many there would be no return.  For those that did return, the experience would leave them changed for life, with memories they would, or could not forget, possibly no matter how hard they tried.  They can recall friendships forged in the heat of battle, bonds, fashioned by a common experience, which even death cannot break.  They, and others too, remember loved ones lost, not just as a name, rank or number but as person, an individual with a special place in their lives, as a father, son, mother, daughter, brother, sister, wife or husband.  For all who live through war, or are influenced by it, as we all still are to some extent, it was, and is, a life changing experience.  And it is right that we remember those who gave their lives in war, and all those who suffer by its consequences today.

But as we look back at the readings not only do we see that we are called to serve and assured of an eternal future, we see a God who speaks and acts in society, a God of compassion, a God who convicts people of their fallen nature and their need to turn to Him.  God is not remote; He is incarnate in every part of our lives.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God.  He is a God who cares passionately about each one of us as.  In the heat and aftermath of battle this may not always be easy to see, especially where death has indeed left its sting.  But through Christ we have the ultimate victory over death.  A victory which is not earthly or perishable but is eternal and everlasting.  As Christians death is not the end, or even the start of the end, merely an end to the beginning.  Sam Cappleman

Meditation

When you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today.

I believe in the sun,
even when it does not shine.
I believe in love,
even when I cannot feel it.
I believe in God,
even when he is silent.

Prayer scratched on the wall of a prison cell in Cologne during the Second World War

 

 

Hymns and Psalms

  1. Judge eternal, throned in splendour

  2. The National Anthem

  3. I vow to thee my country

  4. Blest are the pure in heart

  5. All my hope on God is founded

 

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Let us pray for all who suffer as a result of conflict, and ask that God may give us peace:

For the service men and women who have died in the violence of war, each one remembered by and known to God; May God give peace, God give peace For those who love them in death as in life, offering the distress of our grief and the sadness of our loss; May God give peace, God give peace

For all members of the armed forces who are in danger this day, remembering family, friends and all who pray for their safe return; May God give peace, God give peace For civilian women, children and men whose lives are disfigured by war or terror, calling to mind in penitence the anger and hatreds of humanity; May God give peace, God give peace

For peace-makers and peace-keepers, who seek to keep this world secure and free; May God give peace, God give peace. For all who bear the burden and privilege of leadership, political, military and religious; asking for gifts of wisdom and resolve in the search for reconciliation and peace. May God give peace, God give peace

O God of truth and justice, we hold before you those whose memory we cherish, and those whose names we will never know. Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this broken world, and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm. As we honour the past, may we put our faith in your future; for you are the source of life and hope, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer of Supplication

Loving God, in a world where justice has not rolled down as waters, nor righteousness as a mighty stream, where knowledge floods in, but there is only a trickle of wisdom, we pray for this church. Turn our efforts to good, so that as our understanding increases, our sense of responsibility will deepen, and we will complete our time here having made the world more habitable, and ourselves more humane. We pray this, O God, in the power of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Prayer of Petition

Almighty God, surrounded by a host of demands, we seek direction for our lives. Give us patience in the face of provocation. Sustain our hope that disturbed relationships can be improved. Sway us away from indifference and indolence. Show us the way we can produce love in action in our families. Encourage us when we are afraid of the demands of your righteousness. Amen.

Almighty God, keep us mindful of all your benefits and heedful of our high calling, that we may yield ourselves in new obedience to your holy will, and live henceforth as those who are not their own, but are bought with a price; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Slow us down, O Lord,
So we may "let the land lie fallow,"
So we may take the time
To view your Creation with Reverence,
To see the needs of all Your family,
To share with our brothers and sisters,
To celebrate with them
the abundant life You offer,
As we create Sabbath time in our own lives
And in our communities.
Help us to become sensitive to
The rhythms of Your seasons
And to rest in the security
Of Your grace. Amen.
 

 

Additional Material

n 1918, at 11.00am on  the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month - the First World War came to an end. Most of the war was fought in dug-out trenches across Belgium and France. Perhaps as many as 9 million soldiers died, there were about 27 million were wounded - many permanently disabled. Then at 11.00am, the fighting stopped everywhere, six hours after the Armistice was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne, northern France.

It was two years later that the body of an unknown British soldier, from one of those desperate battlefields, was placed in a coffin and brought to England. In 1920 the coffin of the unknown soldier was taken in procession to Westminster Abbey, past thousands of people lining the streets. During the service, the coffin was laid to rest with some soil from France in the floor of the central aisle of Westminster Abbey. The tomb commemorates all British casualties, especially those who have no known grave, and all who suffered during that war and since. Lying there amongst the tombs of kings and queens and many famous people, this “Tomb of the Unknown Warrior” bears the inscription,

“Beneath this stone rests the body of a British warrior, unknown by name or rank, brought from France to be among the most illustrious of the land.”

During that service, the hymn “Lead Kindly Light” was sung. During the First World War, the soldiers in their dug-outs could see red poppies growing in the fields of Flanders, the name for an area that covers parts of Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Each year, the Royal British Legion sells artificial red poppies to raise money for injured soldiers, sailors and airmen who have served their country up to the present day. Some countries mark Remembrance Day on the 11th of November itself, and others on the nearest Sunday.

Today at 11.00am, we still mark that moment as we remain silent for two minutes. We hold that silence in respect, gratitude and memory. As we do so we pray that all humanity will learn the lesson of the importance of peace.

Commentary

Do you remember the thieves on the cross with Jesus and the conversation which took place? One thief challenged Jesus and hurled insults at him, telling him that if he was the Christ he should save himself and them. The other thief recognised that Jesus was an innocent victim and did not deserve this punishment. He showed faith in Jesus when he asked if he would remember him when he came into his kingdom.

In her book ‘Eats, shoots and leaves’ Lynne Truss draws attention to the importance of the comma. She does this by reference to how Cecil Hartley in his 1818 Principles of Punctuality, considered the difference between the following
‘verily I say unto thee, This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.’
And:
‘verily I say unto thee this day, Thou shalt be with me in Paradise.’

Huge doctrinal differences hang on the placing of this comma. The first version, which is how Protestants interpret the passage (Luke 23:43), lightly skips over the whole unpleasant business of purgatory and takes the thief straight to heaven to meet the Lord. The second promises Paradise at some later date (to be confirmed as it were) and leaves Purgatory nicely in the picture for Catholics who believe in it.

We are all at a loss when talking about life after death, simply because none of us have any first hand experience and those who claim to have visited the other side in ‘near death’ or ‘out of body experiences’ all have remarkably little to tell of any significance considering where they have supposedly been.
So we have to be very careful when making bold statements about what happens to us when we depart this earthly life for pastures new.
However, we can say some things with confidence. Clearly Jesus believed that after death came paradise, the better place. Where the comma should be placed in Jesus reply is ultimately a matter for God to reveal to us, and questions of timing may be irrelevant, since at death we pass beyond the earthly measurements of time. We should concentrate on the fact that Jesus assures us, just as he assured the thief, that those who trust themselves to him will not be disappointed and are secure in his love forever. This is the message of Romans Chapter 8:31, our second reading today, there is nothing which can separate us from the love of God in Jesus. Where human reasoning fails, the love of God assures us that his promises are true.
Without hope our lives are pretty meaningless. Thankfully in his teaching Jesus gave us all something to look forward to. Jesus left the early church with his clear teaching that he had conquered death and it should no longer hold power. He spoke of his kingdom being something which was already present, but he also had a clear vision of a kingdom which was yet to come. Jesus spoke in pictures about a time when there would be feasting and laughter. The time to come would be different, the hungry would be filled and those who had been downtrodden would be freed.

In the passage from Corinthians we read about flesh and blood not inheriting the kingdom and the perishable and the imperishable. It is all very confusing ! Perhaps it is no wonder that the writings of the first Christians were lacking in detail what happens after death. The Gospel accounts show that after his resurrection from the dead, the disciples did not even recognise Jesus. It was only when he said something familiar or did some characteristic thing, that they recognised it was clearly Jesus. However those early disciples believed that Jesus really did triumph over the grave, they had such confidence and conviction that they were willing to die for their beliefs, believing that ultimately death would only open for them the path to life. Charles Royden

 

Prayer

Christ be with you, Christ before you, Christ behind you,
Christ in us, Christ beneath us, Christ above us,
Christ on your right, Christ on your left,
Christ where we lie, Christ where we sit, Christ where we arise,
Christ in the heart of every one who thinks of you,
Christ in every eye that sees us,
Christ in every ear that hears you.
Salvation is of the Lord, Salvation is of the Christ,
May your salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.
Go in peace to serve the Lord and all you meet.
And the blessing of the Three in One God keep you in eternal life. Amen.


Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Almighty and eternal God, from whose love in Christ we cannot be parted, either by death or life.
Hear our prayers and thanksgivings for all whom we remember this day; fulfil in them the purpose of thy love; and bring us all, with them, to thine eternal joy; though Christ our Lord.
Amen

Be to us, O Lord, the affection of our hearts, the closest of our companions, our everlasting love, our enduring happiness and the fulfilment of all our desires. Through your Spirit, create in us holy fire and purity of life, that loving you above all things and our neighbours ardently, we may come at last to the glories of your everlasting kingdom; through Christ our Lord. Amen Thomas a Kempis, 1380-1471

O Almighty God, grant we beseech thee, that we, who here do honour to the memory of those who have died in the service of their country and of the crown, may be so inspired by the spirit of their love and fortitude that, forgetting all selfish and unworthy motives, we may live only to thy glory and to the service of mankind through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God of wisdom and truth, we pray for the leaders of the nations, for wisdom and courage in those who stand firm against terrorism; for patience and persistence in all who work to secure freedom, justice and peace on earth.
God of mercy, we pray for peoples and nations bleeding still from the unhealed wounds of their history. Deliver them from violence and vengeance; nurture in them the ancient wisdom of respect and mutual understanding
God of time and eternity, you travel with us through deep waters yet never abandon us in the storm. We live still in darkened days yet never without your healing light. Renew our confidence, rekindle our hope, deepen our faith, guide us in truth and give us peace in our day.
Merciful Father of all, in darkness and in light, in trouble and in joy, in death and in life, help us to trust your love, to serve your purpose and to praise your name for ever.

God of unending mercy, we pray with those who cry: For women and men who are battered in body or spirit, for children who sleep the fitful sleep of grief, for all who are imprisoned by walls or worries, for all who wonder if they can ever live again, for the least, the lost and the last, and for the dead. 
Christ, have mercy on those who cry;
Christ have mercy on us when we turn away from the cries of others.
Give us the strength of compassion, that we may never shield our eyes and hearts from pain, but seek to heal and bless.
Bless us with courage and arm us with hope, that we may lessen the suffering of our world.
Hear this our common prayer and those of our hearts which we offer now. (Paul Sheppy)

A prayer for those who mourn O God our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble, we seek your comfort and your blessing for those who mourn the death of those they love, for all whose lives are torn apart by violence, for all the suffering people of the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord

A prayer for the leaders of the nations
O God our heavenly father, whose love sets no boundaries and whose strength is in service; grant to the leaders of the nations wisdom courage and insight at this time of darkness and fear. Give to all who exercise authority a determination to defend the principles of freedom, love and tolerance strength to protect and safeguard the innocent and clarity of vision to guide the world into the paths of justice and peace.
This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Hymns

  1. God who weeps when we are weeping (Tune: Austria)
  2. National Anthem
  3. As the deer pants
  4. I vow to thee (Tune:Thaxted)
  5. God is love (Tune: Abbot’s Leigh)
  6. O Father on your Love we call (Tune: Melita)

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Field of poppiesOn this Remembrance Sunday, we remember past wars: those who fought in them; those who lived through them; and those who died in them. Amen
We pray for the victims of past wars, remembering before you, loving God, those who died in battle, or from the consequences of injury or disease, and for those who mourned or still mourn them. We remember those permanently maimed or disabled, and those psychologically scarred or disturbed. We pray for an end to the suffering of war. Amen
We pray for the victims of current conflicts, remembering before you, loving God, children trained to hate or fight, families turned into homeless refugees, and lands laid waste and made barren. We remember those blinded or crippled and those driven insane by nightmare experiences. We pray for an end to the destructive hatred of war. Amen
We pray for the peace of the world remembering before you, loving God, areas where there is armed conflict and all those who are working for peace. We remember that you have called s to strive together for the coming of Your kingdom of love and peace. We pray that you will equip us for the task with the faith that knows that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Amen. [From Companion to the Revised Common Lectionary, Intercessions, Christine Odell]
God grant to the living, grace; to the departed, rest; to the people of every church and nation, peace and concord; and to us and all the servants of God, life everlasting; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen
 

Prayer for Peace Pope John Paul II

To you, Creator of nature and humanity, of truth and beauty, I pray:
Hear my voice, for it is the voice of the victims of all wars and violence among individuals and nations.
Hear my voice, for it is the voice of all children who suffer and will suffer when people put their faith in weapons and war.
Hear my voice, when I beg you to instil into the hearts of all human beings the wisdom of peace, the strength of justice and the joy of fellowship.
Hear my voice, for I speak for the multitudes in every country and every period of history who do not want war and are ready to walk the road of peace.
Hear my voice, and grant insight and strength so that we may always respond to hatred with love, to injustice with total dedication to justice, to need with sharing of self, to war with peace. O God, hear my voice, and grant unto the world your everlasting peace

We thank you Lord, for all those who have died for their nation. Almighty God in whose hand are the living and the dead: we give you thanks for all your servants who have laid down their lives in the service of their country. Grant to them your mercy, and the light of your presence, that the good work you have begun in them may be perfected, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Most gracious God and Father, in whose will is our peace: turn our hearts and the hearts of all people to yourself, that by the power of your spirit, the peace which is founded on righteousness may be established throughout the world. Through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

 

Poem

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow,
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
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

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army
Published by Punch 8 December 1915

 

Flanders field poppy poem

British Legion Poppy

Artwork Poppy

Poppy for remembrance

Additional Material for Remembrance Sunday

Verse of scripture

Jesus said, 'There is no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. John Chapter 15 Verse 13

Collect Prayer for the Day—Before we read we pray

Almighty Father, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the king of all: govern the hearts and minds of those in authority, and bring the families of the nations, divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin, to be subject to his just and gentle rule; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Jonah Chapter 3:1 - 5, 10

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you." Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city--a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned." 5 The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

Mark Chapter 1:14-20

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Post Communion Prayer

God of peace, whose Son Jesus Christ proclaimed the kingdom and restored the broken to wholeness of life: look with compassion on the anguish of the world, and by your healing power make whole both people and nations; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Commentary

Remembrance Sunday - God Is With Us

In today's readings, one taken from the Anglican Common Lectionary (Mark 1 v 14 - 20) and one taken from the Methodist Common Lectionary (1 Kings 17 v 8 - 16) we see examples of people who have been called to serve. In the New Testament reading we see the disciples Simon, Andrew, James and John all called to leave their livelihoods to come and serve Jesus. To serve Him at a time of great turmoil and uncertainty for the Jews. Israel is close to political and religious crisis. The nation is under Roman occupation and Judaism is under real threat. Just 30 years earlier Herod had tried to destroy the Jews by killing all the first born. It was not exactly a smart time to leave everything you had worked all your life for to go and be the first followers of a new religious leader. Yet, not knowing what lay ahead, they left their security and went to serve Him.

Elijah too appears on the scene when things were pretty desperate for the Israelite nation. Following the split of Jewish nation into Israel in the North and Judah in the South, Israel had been ruled by a series of increasingly bad and corrupt kings. It started with Jeroboam, then went through Nadab, Ba-asha, Elah, Zimri, Omri and now Omri's son Ahab. Ahab had been the king of Israel for about 22 years, during which time he'd married Jezabel and built her a temple for her own religion, complete with an altar, for the worship of Baal-Melkart, the so called Phoenician God of the weather and nature. He'd then allowed the construction of Asherah poles to carry the image of the mother goddess around the nation. Not content with this, Jezebel wanted to destroy the Jews, their nation and their faith by 'cutting off the prophets of Yahweh' as the bible puts it.

We should not loose sight of the fact that many of the times when there are major times of political crisis in the world, often the Jews are under attack. Think of the second world war, where among the countless millions who died were 6 million Jews, killed in the Holocaust, Hebrew for burnt offering. As for Jezebel, she imported hundreds of prophets and priests of Baal from Phoenicia and paid them put of public funds. It was a time of religious and political corruption the like of which had not been seen before. Of Ahab, the bible records he '..did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him'.

It was in these dark times for the Israelite nation that Elijah (who's very name means Yah(weh) is my God) appears on the scene. He came to challenge the prophets of Baal, and all those who believed in them, and especially to ask the Israelites what they were doing in 'hopping from one foot to the other' in worshipping both Baal and Yahweh. There is only one God to be worshipped and His name is Yahweh. Given the support for the Baal religion this doesn't seem like a smart thing to do! He then declares, in the face of this so called Baal god of nature and weather, and his prophets, that there is going to be a drought which only Yahweh, by his word will end. This begins to get the prophets of Baal, and presumably Jezebel herself, a little annoyed! And then to cap it all, instead of like the prophets of Baal who can seek support from the most powerful woman in the kingdom, Elijah heads off to the heart of Jezabel country, and goes to support the weakest and the most vulnerable woman he can find, especially in a time of drought, a widow with a sick son. This is the reading we had today. And as we read on, we discover that, not surprisingly, Elijah is not Mr Popular in Israel. 3 years later he goes to call Ahab to account and to pick a fight with the prophets of Baal, Obadiah is afraid to tell the king he's met Elijah in case he gets killed for it.

In terms of service for God these are dark and lonely times. We know later Eliijah was afraid and confused. He wanted just to lay down and die. It was if the response to his prayers was the same as the prayers of the prophets of Baal are recorded, '…but there was no response, no-one answered, no-one paid attention…' God forsaken, cold, empty, dark, confusing, futile, with no apparent purpose, is this what service is all about Elijah must have wondered, as must many who have served in times of war. But as we look back on the story of Elijah, and on history itself, we see God was there. Sometimes it was difficult to see Him or understand His presence or His actions completely but God was, and is, still there as we serve Him, and in all our times of need. And it can often be the very events that test us that become the means by which God is able to use us in ministry to others.

And, just as it was for Elijah, we should never lose sight of the fact that it is often the dark times, the lonely times and the difficult times when God speaks to us more closely. For Elijah it wasn't in the heat of the battle, or in the fire or in the earthquake or in the tornado that God spoke to him, it was in a whisper afterwards. God heard the cry of Elijah, He heard all of his frustrations, confusions and fear and responded to all of them, meeting all of his needs. Through all of the fear, the emptiness and the loneliness He gave Elijah a fresh awareness of Himself (God) and sent Elijah out in a new direction. And as we look back on Elijah, the disciples, or even those who went to serve others and their country the pattern is the same. In order that they could serve they had to hear the call, respond to it, and move to that place where they were called to serve, until God called them on again to a new place of service. And for each of us, that pattern is the same. It too involves a call, a response, and a journey into a place of service, perhaps several different times in our lives as God uses us in the service of others in different ways. And for each of us its likely that the journey will take place at a different speeds and go in slightly different directions, each of which will lead to different places. Sometimes we'll understand more about the why and wherefore than others. Faith and service do not necessarily call for a full understanding of the situation, they call for a response. And in that response and the journey of service, no matter how quick or slow, clear or confused, God is there as we serve. Like the wars, and the people we remember today, those whose memory we treasure, it may be many years after, even into eternity itself, before we fully understand the purpose and nature of the service to which we are called. But we draw confidence from those who have gone before us in faith that God is indeed in control, and He is with us and along side us as we serve.

Prayers for Sunday

We thank you Lord, for all those who have died for their nation. Almighty God in whose hand are the living and the dead: we give you thanks for all your servants who have laid down their lives in the service of their country. Grant to them your mercy, and the light of your presence, that the good work you have begun in them may be perfected, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Most gracious God and Father, in whose will is our peace: turn our hearts and the hearts of all people to yourself, that by the power of your spirit, the peace which is founded on righteousness may be established throughout the world. Through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

O Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful as we wait for the coming of your Son, then when he appears, he will not find us sleeping in Sin, but active in his service and joyful in his praise, for the glory of your holy name. Amen.

Living God, you have given us a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Grant that we being risen with him, may fix our hearts on heavenly things and share eternal life. Amen.

God grant to the living grace, to the departed rest, to the people of every church and nation, peace and concord, and to us and all the servants of God, life everlasting and may the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always.


A Service for Remembrance Sunday

Verse of Scripture

Jesus said, There is no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one’s friends. John Chapter 5:13

Introduction Minister:

We are here to worship Almighty God, whose purposes are good; whose power sustains the world he has made; who loves us, though we have failed in his service; who gave Jesus Christ for the life of the world; who by his Holy Spirit leads us in his way. As we give thanks for his great works, we remember those who have lived and died in his service and in the service of others; we pray for all who suffer through war and are in need; we ask for his help and blessing that we may do his will, and that the whole world may acknowledge him as Lord and King.

Hymn Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Mission Praise 16)

Act of Penitence

Minister:

Let us confess to God the sins and shortcomings of the world; its pride, its selfishness, its greed; its evil divisions and hatreds. Let us confess our share in what is wrong, and our failure to seek and establish that peace which God wills for his children.

All:

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. In your mercy forgive what we have been, help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Minister:

Almighty God have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all our sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Act of Remembrance (all standing)

Minister:

Let us remember before God, and commend to his sure keeping: those who have died for their country in war; those whom we knew, and whose memory we treasure; and all who have lived and died in the service of others.

The Two Minute Silence

They shall not grow 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

All:

We will remember them.

Minister:

Almighty and eternal God, from whose love in Christ we cannot be parted, either by death or life: Hear our prayers and thanksgivings for those whom we remember this day; fulfill in them the purpose of your love; and bring us, with them, to your eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Offering All stand as the Offering is brought forward

All:

Lord of all good, our gifts we bring to you: Use them your holy purpose to fulfill; Tokens of love and pledges they shall be That our whole life is offered to your will. Amen

Hymn The Spirit lives to set us free, Walk, walk in the light;

The Collect

Bible Readings 1 Kings 17:8-16, Mark 12:38-44

At the end of each reading - Reader: This is the word of the Lord All: Thanks be to God.

Hymn O God beyond all praising, (Tune as for 'I vow to thee my country')

Sermon

Hymn Make me a channel of your peace (776 Mission Praise)

Prayers

Act of Commitment (all standing)

Minister:

Let us pledge ourselves anew to the service of God and others: that we may help, encourage and comfort others, and support those working for the relief of the needy and for the peace and welfare of the nations.

All:

Lord God our Father, we pledge ourselves to serve you and others, in the cause of peace, for the relief of want and suffering, and for the praise of your name. Guide us by your Spirit; Give us wisdom; give us courage; give us hope; And keep us faithful now and always, Amen.

Hymn God is our strength and refuge (188 Mission Praise)

The Blessing

Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast to that which is good; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen.