Remembrance Sunday

By Mark Regis, Associate Priest

Posted on November 1, 2017

About twenty years ago I attended St. Paul’s for our annual Sunday service of Remembrance. I was struck by the memory of countless lives lost in both World Wars, and how that left an indelible and physical mark on the church. Stained glass, plaques, a chapel dedicated to those who fought and died, statues, and a monument are just part of the many ways our community strained to process their grief, and to honour those who had suffered at great cost on our behalf. All of these features highlighted the occasion, but none more for me than an elderly gentleman who sat in the pew directly in front of mine. Stooped over with an aging back, he wore his military uniform for the day’s observance. At the close of the service, when the bugle pierced the air with the haunting melody of The Last Post and Reveille, a remarkable change came over that elderly veteran. Seeming to shed decades of his life in a moment of time, he stood at attention with his back straight, arms at his side as he had no doubt done so many times before, solemnly honouring along with the many others worshipping that day. I imagined his mind reliving heart-wrenching memories, and I soberly and gratefully reflected that I simply couldn’t relate to what he might have experienced those many years ago.
Today, sadly, too many can relate. Armed conflict, further threats of war and disaster tragically continue. This year, Canadian soldiers have contributed in areas of conflict and assisted in disaster relief both domestic and foreign. Across the world, conflict and staggering loss continue, with hundreds of thousands killed and over 65 million people displaced from their homes because of armed conflict and persecution. We are a world beset by brokenness and sin. 
War is not to be glorified, but it is appropriate to set aside time to reflect on its cost, and pray generously for those who continue to risk their lives for the benefit of the many. As we pray as a community, we hold up as our enduring standard, the ultimate symbol of sacrifice who defeated the core power of evil and death - Jesus Christ and his Cross. The victory of Jesus enables us to fully grieve the reality of suffering in this world, and simultaneously serve in the sure hope and freedom of his resurrection. And as we head into the season of Advent, where we prepare for Jesus’s promise of a transformed heaven and earth, may we all pray earnestly for God’s restoration, healing, and justice to flourish across the world and here at home. 

All are welcome to join us this Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 10:45 a.m. for a Service of Remembrance.  On Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 10:55 a.m. join us for the laying of the wreaths at the Cross of Sacrifice.