Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand.
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning, stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember (you understand)
Remember me and be sad.
I thought of this poem by Christina Rossetti after I heard Fr Chris Webb preach on this Remembrance Sunday morning. He called to mind the pains of war, of violence and loss. He spoke of those who did not come to the memorial service, he asked us what we thought of those who did not come together to remember. He reminded those who get annoyed at those who don’t go to consider that some people don’t go because every day is of remembrance to them, and sometimes a gathering can be painful. And also he asked us to tell people that our annual remembrance service was never about glorifying war as some people were under the impression it was, but that it is about remembering loss and coming together as a community to pray with all we have that one day a world will form that makes war no longer necessary. When children will grow up wondering what remembrance day is all about, not understanding what war is. Our gathering is to share our pain, and our hope.
And so I thought of the poem. May the day come when there is no longer war. May the day come when people can forget and smile, when they cannot imagine such loss. Until then, remembering those who have died, being sad, may we be strong enough to stand in the light amidst the dark, and help love grow.
Micah 4:3b-4a they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid.
Our closing prayer was: Lord God our Father, we pledge ourselves to serve you and all humanity 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
A closing note to make you smile if the day is hard for you: Today our service was bilingual with Welsh and English, so try and imagine me reading and singing a hymn in Welsh and you should be able to have a good chuckle! 😀
Also, I know I haven’t been writing as much of late and some of you emailed me to ask why – life is demanding at the moment, with a lot of university essays and reports to be getting done, so I’ll write when I can! Meanwhile I hope that you can enjoy heading to my Tumblr page which I have been updating more regularly: There’s Beauty in Reality