A National Day of Remembrance – A Reflection

Today we are asked to remember, remember all who have died in this past year – particularly those who have died from the corona-virus and its impact.

The numbers in this country alone are huge, but each one is a person behind whom is a family and friends. And across the world families grieve, and continue to grieve, and the virus continues to have an impact.

We know that the restrictions, the lock-downs, the impositions have had a positive effect in reducing transmission, and we know that they have had a negative effect on so many, on their well-being, their livelihoods, their mental health.

In our prayers today we remember those who have died, those who grieve, and those who struggle, and I hope we also remember all who have helped, worked, supported others through this year.

As a church, we value the Christian values of grace, mercy and peace, values that many will share, whatever their faith. Grace is about generosity and thankfulness. I have been so struck by how many people have been generous with their time, their giving, and have continued in that spirit not just for a few days but over the year.

Mercy is about accepting ourselves, accepting others, even with failings and when let-down or disappointed or worse. As God is a gracious God so God is also a merciful God, and as we remember those who have died, we entrust them to God’s mercy; we seek to be merciful and compassionate to others- only God knows the inner soul.

Peace is that state we would all love to find – an inner harmony, a contentment, a security. The chaos, the limits, the uncertainties have all eroded our peace. We want our children to flourish – with an inner peace and outer stability; we want to grow older with an inner peace about life and a growing faith in God’s promise of eternal life. May we be peace-makers, peace-bringers, to others and our community.

As a new vicar in this community, I will remember those for whom I have had the privilege of conducting their funeral, and for the families, and I will pray for them; I will also remember our children as they grow through this experience that they may grow up strong and compassionate. I will remember with deep thanks all who have helped keep our community a good place in so many ways, and the generosity of spirit I have seen. May we, together, pray for God’s blessing on our communities and on this troubled world.

Almighty God,
whose ways are sometimes hard to discern,
whose gift of freedom sometimes feels too much;
As we remember today, may we remember with thanks, with hope, and with faith.
May we know your grace, your mercy, your peace,
May we live out our lives with grace, in mercy, in peace.
Bless us we pray; guide us in the coming year;
keep us close to you, and within your will,
and bring us safe to your Kingdom of Peace and Joy,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Rev’d Peter Reiss