It was an honour and privilege to conduct the Eastwood Remembrance Service in St Mary’s Church, and also to lead the Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial and the Cadets Cross in the town.
We did not gather to commemorate only the men and women who lost their lives in the Great War and World War Two, we also thought of other conflicts such as: The Falkland Islands, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.
As we gathered we thanked God for those who gave their lives for our freedom and those who serve in our armed forces at this moment.
I am sure most of us know someone who is serving or who has served in the armed forces; my own son’s best friend is in the Anglian Regiment serving in Afghanistan, and my future son-in-law was proud to wear his medals from Kosovo, Bosnia and Iraq on Remembrance Day.
It is indeed the ultimate sacrifice to lay down one’s life for others.
Yet does mankind change? Do we really learn? Are we for war or peace? We could debate about a just war, or a necessary war, or that there is no point to war at all.
I am sure we all have our own thoughts on this. But we gathered to remember those who had fought and laid down their lives for the sake of others, the ultimate sacrifice.
I had with me a picture put in its frame in 1915 as the newspaper on the back was dated May 18, 1915, and had headlines such as: MORE FIRST ARMY SUCCESS; German Trenches for two miles captured; 550 prisoners captured; Surrendering troops swept down by their own artillery; Enemy admits retirement north of Ypres.
Thus began my research in to the battle at Ypres, and what was reported in the newspaper was not what I found in my research, it was not a good battle for our troops – far from this.
On the other side of the print/photograph (I am not actually quite sure which as I have never taken the back off) is a sketch of Christ’s head that Leonardo Da Vinci had produced in preparation for the Last Supper Fresco.
This is a very peaceful image of Christ, yet the accounts of the last supper in the Bible tell us Jesus knew of the horrors yet to come for him.
As Christians, we believe that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice made for mankind, to take away the sins and evil of the world, and in his teachings he left with us two great commandments, the first being: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and the second: Love your neighbour as yourself.
We will be moving to our Christmas season soon, so can I suggest that we pick up on these two commandments. If you do not know(!) go and find out why we call it CHRISTmas and also do something extra for your neighbour/family/friend to show that you love them.
Rev Liz Murray
Curate at Eastwood and Brinsley with Underwood