I’m a member of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship and, as such, believe that the waging of war is incompatible with Christian life. It is also true that other Christians believe differently, and, however we believe, war is an ever-present reality in our world.
I have family members who served in the war and others who were members of the Armed Forces. They, in good conscience, believed that it was the right and good thing for them to do. My mother served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service.
It is complicated. We should remember war, those who died and those who mourn. We should remember because war is costly and I long for the day when war is only to be remembered.
Here are some words I wrote for the beginning of worship this Sunday at All Saints in Howick. The bit about hoping war will bring a better world is the tricky bit for me. I’m not sure war can make the world better, but I do think that those that go to war hope that things will be better than they are. That the tyrants and bullies will be halted. That peace will come.
Yesterday was ANZAC Day and this year we have remembered the 100th Anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli.
Some of you are have family members who served in the First World War,
some of you served in other wars.
This morning we remember.
We remember not to glorify or sentimentalise war.
We remember because war is bloody,
war scars people and places,
even as we hope that it will bring a better world.
We remember the soldiers.
We remember the soldiers who fought,
those who died,
and those who mourned, who still mourn, their passing.
We remember the medics, the nurses, the drivers.
The code-breakers, translators and chaplains.
We remember those who would not go to war.
Those whose courage was shown in conscientious objection.
We remember all those who live with the consequences of war.
We remember because we are the people who worship the Prince of Peace.
We are called to work and pray for that day
when the lion and lamb lie down together,
when swords are beaten into ploughshares
when we do not know war anymore.
That day is not yet,
and so we keep a moment of silence together.
Amen. Come Christ Jesus come.