(Drop In talk, 06.11.18.)

This week is always a sombre time of year when our minds move towards Remembrance Sunday. I don’t want to put a dampener on the mood today, but I thought as we gathered today it would be good for us to pay our respects together.

For some of us the impact of the World Wars is more immediate than for others. Strangely, I find the older I get, the nearer I feel – as a child it seemed like something that happened generations ago, now I’ve lived longer I suddenly realise just how close the end of the Second World War is to today, it’s no time really. Naturally my thoughts turn to my maternal Grandad who fought in Burma. He survived the conflict in the jungle, but many years later it was the jungle that killed him, his body weakened by the various diseases he contracted during his time there, especially his collapsing spine caused by polio.

But of course, conflict has not gone away, and there have been many wars since WW2, and they continue today, some conventional, others non-conventional such as the so called war on terror.

As a Christian at this time of year I find myself reflecting on Jesus’ teaching about conflict, and his dramatic teaching that even to call someone a fool makes you guilty of murder. We may not have taken up arms, but we’ve all I suspect harboured hatred in our hearts and said and done things that have hurt and divided. Disagreement is not something we do well in this country these days – you only have to look at the debates about Brexit to see how quickly different views turn into slanging matches and name calling. We’re still fighting.

When we think back to those like my Grandad who fought and suffered, not to forget the impact on families and loved ones, what is the best response we can make? For me, the best response is to try and end fighting in my own life, and to seek instead to be a peacemaker, seeking to encourage mutual understanding and a willingness to listen to each other and find constructive ways to deal with our differences and disagreements, rather than destructive ones. If we could learn to put our desires to one side and seek to serve each other instead, that would be a fitting response to conflicts past and present, and the best tribute to Jesus who gave his life in the quest for peace.

Posts labelled ‘From the Pastor’s Pen’ reflect our ministers’ views and not necessarily those of Wormley Free Church/The Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion