This is a time of year when we are encouraged to remember. According to the Royal British Legion, ‘Remembrance Sunday is a day for the nation to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom‘.
I believe that Remembrance Sunday is really important! I think it is important to remember the sacrifice of so many out of respect for them but it has also dawned on me recently that to remember is good for us as well.
I recently watched some episodes of Band of Brothers which tells the story of the soldiers of Easy Company and their role in World War 2. There is a moving scene at the end of episode 3 when the troops have returned to where they were training in England before the D-day invasion. A soldier goes to collect his laundry and after picking it up, he is asked if he can take the laundry that belongs to some of the other soldiers. The camera pans along the names on the packages of clothes on the shelves and it becomes clear that those men didn’t make it back. At the end of the episode we are told that Easy company lost 65 men in their first few weeks of fighting.
There are many things in life that cause us stress and frustration but when we remember the cost of the freedom that was won for us it puts many of our feelings into perspective. As we remember the sacrifice of others, it helps us to see more clearly what is important in life and to realize how unimportant that many of the things that consume our attention really are.
At this time of year, a local charity CYO runs a Remembrance Project in some of the schools and colleges in Colchester. This year, the project will include an empty chair to help the students and staff to remember those who have died and who leave an empty space in our lives.
When someone loses a loved one they are left in tremendous pain and one of the temptations is to try to hide or escape from that pain. The problem with escapism is that it doesn’t work ultimately or consistently. You can dull or avoid pain for a time, but is only really by truly acknowledging our loss that we can move on. As we remember the people who we have lost, we will be affected by remembering who they were and what they meant to us and we can choose to honour them by living well.
Jesus shared a meal with his disciples and he encouraged them to remember him as they ate bread and drank. Communion reminds us that Jesus laid down his life for us, as we break bread it reminds us that his body was broken and as we drink we are reminded of Jesus’ blood that was seen as he was tortured and executed. The simple act of eating and drinking should help us to remember what it cost Jesus to save us and as we remember his sacrifice it should radically change the way that we live.
So, will we remember or will we continue to be preoccupied just with ourselves?
Remembering is good for us!