Remembrance Day and the Love of the Living God

By Barry Parker, Rector

Posted on November 6, 2014

“At eleven o’clock this morning came to an end the cruellest and most terrible War that has ever scourged mankind. I hope we may say that thus, this fateful morning, came to an end all wars.” (British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, House of Commons, 11 November 1918).

You cannot help but have a deep and abiding sense of the impact of a “war to end all wars” when you enter the majestic sanctuary of St. Paul’s Bloor Street. From the Cross of Sacrifice stoically facing north on Bloor Street. To the numerous plaques surrounding the space that speak to vibrant life in the death portrayed by solemn granite. To the Book of Remembrance, etched with 1750 names and reverently placed in safekeeping in the Shrine to the Queen’s Own Rifles. Whether we like it or not, the reality of war is woven into the very fabric of our 172 year history as a parish Church.

Yet, it is more than history. It is more than a Poppy and a solemn remembrance – as vital as that is. With the events of the past two weeks in Quebec and on Parliament Hill, this dislocation brought by war, violence and evil is brought so close to home. In spite of these unsettling events, there is hope. Perhaps it is best reflected in the simple commitment of a young man, Cpl. Branden Stevenson, who was standing on guard at the National War Memorial on October 22. Stevenson was unharmed after Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Civillo, who stood just a few feet away at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Cpl. Stevenson said on Monday:

In the coming days, I’ll be resuming my duties at the National War Memorial. It will not be an easy task, but I am resolved to do it in honour of Nathan, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, and all those who stood, and continue to stand, on guard for Canada. I still believe Canada is a nation of peace where soldiers within its borders need not take up arms. My fellow soldiers and I remain proud and committed to watching over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as a strong, silent reminder of every person who made the ultimate sacrifice.

We too will stand and honour those who have sacrificed to ensure our freedoms in this land. Regardless of past or current events, we at St. Paul’s, as tens of thousands who have gone before, will continue to serve others and proclaim the Prince of Peace – Jesus Christ. To this end, peace is brought to bear.

St. Paul, the early Christian Apostle, said nothing can ever separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Jesus Christ. We cannot be separated through life or death, regardless of our fears for today, or our worries about tomorrow. (Romans 8:38-9).

This Sunday, November 9 please join us at St. Paul’s as we remember and we recommit our lives to that one indissoluble belief – nothing can separate us from the love of the living God.