This Sunday is Remembrance Sunday in the United Kingdom (my birthplace). It’s our Memorial Day, when we remember those who fought and gave their lives for our freedom.
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the end of the World War I, and we become more detached from war’s harsh realities, it becomes harder to appreciate the tremendous sacrifice of the men and women from many nations who lost their lives during both Great Wars.
Hollywood continually tries to capture the experience. Director Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, about the WWII beach evacuation in 1940, is such a film. Last year, as I sat there in my comfy leather seat watching Dunkirk on the 16m x 22m movie screen towering in front of me, I couldn’t help but wonder – what would I do? Nolan’s film did an excellent job of conveying the sheer sense of hopeless exhaustion, the desperate struggle for survival, and the incredible sacrifice of so many ordinary people.
Whatever your feelings about war or the military, the concept of ‘laying down your life’ is not an unfamiliar one to Christians.
Sacrifice, service, selflessness – these are Christ’s qualities.
The sense of duty of the millions who died in the fight against evil is a concept many of us simply cannot comprehend.
Remembrance Day, especially this 100-year anniversary, gives all of us an opportunity, not just to look back, but to look forward. As we gratefully remember the silencing of guns and the end of wars, we still live in a time of turmoil and conflict. There are still wars and rumors of wars. Yet for Christians, we look forward to a day seen by the prophet Isaiah:
He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. – Isaiah 2:4
What will we accomplish this day?
Well, as we turn our eyes towards the Christmas season, this verse will be read in countless churches across the UK and the world:
Jesus, the child who is born, is also The Prince of Peace. At His coming, the tools and clothes of war become useless. There will be no more need for sacrifice because His rule will be a ‘government of peace’, a peace that will never end.
That’s a promise truly worth remembering.
Whether you’re celebrating Remembrance Day or Veteran’s Day this weekend, you might be thinking of someone you love who’s served in the military. Share your hero’s story below.