Remember the Future

First published November 2016

The Reverend John Chandler urges us to consider how our actions today will be viewed by people in the future, and offers a special prayer for this month of remembrance.

As I write, the military forces of several countries are converging on Mosul, Iraq, with a confident determination to free the city and the country from terrorist rule. The bombardment of Aleppo in Syria continues, and offensives are taking place elsewhere in the region in what has become a complicated, seemingly un-winnable war. British forces are involved, and our new Government is still working through the logic, especially with a number of other friendly (and less friendly) nations also involved. Across the pond, we will see a new President elected this month.

100 years ago this month, the battle of the Somme ended; the Great War would continue, with various nations taking positions on each side; Britain’s Government was far from stable and indeed our Prime Minister Herbert H Asquith was on the point of resignation, to be replaced by David Lloyd George within days. In the USA, Woodrow Wilson was elected to serve a second term as President.

We cannot even imagine what life will be like 100 years hence, but will there still be war? Or will we have learned the lessons of 1916 and 2016? Surely, the purpose of every war is to secure the future for a nation, land or people, so those who declare war have a vision for the future as they plan, and are determined that the future will be preserved rather than destroyed. But what future is there for the countless people in the huge tent cities, or families parted as refugees? Who is fighting for them?

The Kohima Epitaph, spoken each Remembrance Day, says: “When you go home, tell them of us and say; for your tomorrow, we gave our today.” Whatever our position in life, as this month we remember the past and take action in the present, may we remember to have in mind the future which will result from what we do. Perhaps everything in our lives has an effect on the future - so let’s make sure that, in the future, people can look thankfully into the past and be grateful for what we do today.

“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.” Deuteronomy 32:7

A November Prayer

In this month of remembering, which includes All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day (and Guy Fawkes!), our hearts are especially attuned to the memory of those who have shared our lives and we see no longer. May the Lord bless us as we remember.

Father,
you know our hearts and share our sorrows.
We are hurt by our parting from those whom we loved:
when we are angry at the loss we have sustained,
when we long for words of comfort,
yet find them hard to hear,
turn our grief to truer living,
our affliction to firmer hope
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

 


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