This coming Sunday is Remembrance Sunday, and this morning I read this by Simon Jenkins.
For many clergy Remembrance Sunday is a struggle – how to remember the fallen with dignity, whilst remembering what has happened and wanting to say “never again”, often in the context of military parades. The last thing that many of us would want to do is to preside over “a validation of war by embracing its horrors in religiosity”.
However, my experience in church is that when we struggle to achieve that balance it is welcomed. Whether that is a generational thing, as in many churches, including ours, there are still people who can remember the war, I don’t know. And of course, although Remembrance focuses on the two world wars, there have been many conflicts since, and many killed or injured.
If I were to be provocative I might ask whether the problem is that we don’t remember the more recent conflicts enough! People under 70, which includes most politicians, have no experience of a “big” war. Perhaps if our politicians had, or we Remembered better the smaller wars, there would be less inclination to solve our problems by military means.