Rev. Rosemary Webb
8th November 2015
Remembrance Day

However much people say they want peace since time began the world has fallen victim to wars – The Battle of Jericho, Of Agincourt, the Somme, the Battle of Britain, Korea, Afghanistan, to today’s fighting in Syria and other parts of the Middle East. It seems that there is always someone who wants to dictate to the world.

In the passage from Joshua God was trying to teach that it isn’t wealth, military strength that counts, but believing and trusting in him. It is God and God alone whom we can trust not our perceived strength or importance.

God told Joshua what had to be done and he obeyed it without question, they took up the Ark of the Covenant and carried it behind seven priests – the army went ahead and behind. Joshua didn’t spend time wondering if it would succeed, he heard what God wanted him to do and he did it, he had complete faith in God. He knew that if he wanted to enter Jericho he had to obey and trust in God.

The army, the priests all the assembled people probably wondered why of earth they were to march round the city each day and on the seventh day seven times, there didn’t have to be human logic in it, it was the will of God and God wanted to test the Israelites, test their commitment to him. The people inside the city were probably laughing at them, thinking what a bunch of weirdos. And then on the seventh day as they blew their trumpets and yelled out loud the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites were able take the city. Their faith had brought them victory.

In the Gospel we are at the Sea of Galilee on a sunny day, fishermen were preparing to go out into the lake for a good days fishing. It was a normal day, they certainly weren’t expecting their lives for change for ever. But just as Joshua responded to God’s call to obey him without question, so Simon , Andrew, James and John responded to Christ’s call to become his disciples without hesitancy, the call was strong and they responded. They left their families and friends and responded to the call.

Today we are remembering countless thousands of men and women who have left their families and friends behind and responded to the call to serve their country, no matter what the price.

And of course whilst we do still remember with love and thanks all who gave their lives in what we term the two great wars, we are also remembering those who would still be young today, those who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, those who are still willing to gives their lives today helping countries to achieve democracy.

When we talk of Remembrance Day we are not glorifying war, we are giving thanks for all those who were willing to defend freedom, it is a far quicker process for a tyrant to take over a country than it is to free that country from their power.

We are lucky that whilst our brave soldiers are still having to fight to protect freedom elsewhere, our country is not being attacked. I am old enough to remember the last war, we had an evacuee from London come to stay with us, I think it would be 1944,I may have been very small but I saw her tears, understood her fears, how scared she was at having to come to a strange family. She was called an evacuee but she was a refugee in her own country, a refugee from nearly nightly bombing a refugee from fear.

The pictures we see nightly on our televisions are not dissimilar from pictures from our country and the rest of Europe during the world wars, in the Middle ages, and if they had had cameras at the Battle of Jericho War is cruel, it is ugly, for many it is hell on earth. Which is why, I believe, we must never forget those who were willing to give their lives for us, why we must wear our poppies with pride and in thanks.

We are remembering the love , all those who gave their lives, had not only for their families, but for their country, for us. That love cannot and must not be just one way, we must show our love and thanks to them for their sacrifice.

We must not allow people to tell us it is not necessary, that it is glamorising war, that, I believe, would be to betray all those thousands who gave their lives for our freedom, those who still live with their injuries who are still suffering as a result of war, and all those who still mourn a husband, a child, a loved one

Father we thank them for their sacrifice, and pray that we are worthy of it.

Joshua 6 & Mark 1