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St Clement Church Community Remembrance Sunday Service

 

 

Good morning to you, as we join together in our church building or at home, to commemorate Remembrance Sunday.  On Thursday 11th at 11am a wreath laying service took place at St Clement War Memorial led by Liz Davies.

Our service this Sunday will begin at the later time of 10.45.  Many thanks are given to Nigel and Phil who climbed the tower to muffle the bells, and to Terry for organising the hymns and music we’ll be hearing in church.

May Christ’s love sustain you this day and always. 

Much love and God Bless, Rev Di and family xx

 

Let us pray:

We gather this morning in penitence and faith, to pray for reconciliation between nations, that all people may live together in freedom,

justice and peace.

We pray for all who in bereavement, disability and pain, continue to suffer the consequences of fighting and terror.

We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow those whose lives in world wars and conflicts past and present, have been given and taken away.

Amen

 

Act of Remembrance       

Let us remember before God and commend to his safe keeping, those who have died for their country in war; those whom we knew, and whose memory we treasure, and all who have lived and died in the service of the peoples of the world.

 

 

We say together:

 ‘They shall not grow old as we who are left, grow old, age shall not weary them, nor, the years condemn, at the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.’

We will remember them.

 

 

Prayer of Commemoration

Let us pray;

Ever-living God, we remember all those whom you have gathered from the storm of war into the peace of your presence; may that same peace calm our fears, bring justice to all peoples and establish harmony among the nations, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Almighty and Eternal God, from whose love in Christ we cannot be parted, either by death or life: hear our prayers and thanksgivings

for all whom we remember this day; fulfil in them the purpose of your love; and bring us all, with them, to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen. 

 

 

“The Soldier” Rupert Brooke

If I should die, think only this of me:

that there’s some corner of a foreign field

that is forever England.

There shall be in that rich earth a richer dust concealed;

a dust whom England bore, shaped,

made aware, gave once, her flowers to love,

her ways to roam.

A body of England’s, breathing English air,

washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,

a pulse in the eternal mind,

no less gives somewhere back

the thoughts by England given;

her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;

and laughter, learnt of friends;

and gentleness, in hearts at peace,

under an English heaven.

 

 

The National Anthem

God save our gracious Queen, Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen.
Send her victorious, Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us, God save the Queen.

 

God bless our native land, May heaven’s protective hand

still guard our shore.

May peace her power extend, Foe be transformed to friend

and Britain’s rights depend on war no more.


Not in this land alone, but be God's mercies known
from shore to shore.
Lord make the nations see that men should brothers be;
and form one family the wide world o’er.                         

 

 

 

 

Act of Penitence                                  

Let us confess to God the sins and shortcomings of the world;

its pride, its selfishness, its greed; its evil divisions and hatreds.

Let us confess our share in what is wrong, and our failure to seek and establish that peace which God wills for all his children.

Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed.

We have not loved you with our whole heart.

We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.

In your mercy forgive what we have been, help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly, love mercy,

and walk humbly with you, our God.

Amen.

 

Absolution

May Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy upon us, pardon and deliver us from all our sins, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness, and keep us in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Let us pray our Collect for today

Almighty Father, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of all; govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,

and bring the family of the nations, divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin, to be subject to his just and gentle rule;

who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

 

Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of John (15.9-17)

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. 

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’

 

9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.

10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love,

just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you,

and that your joy may be complete.

12 ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you.

15I do not call you servants* any longer, because the servant* does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.

16You did not choose me but I chose you.

And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last,

so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.

17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

 

(This is the Gospel of the Lord.  Response: ‘Praise to you, O, Christ’)

 

Reflection

Three years ago I had the honour and privilege to officiate at the funeral of the late Mr Aubrey Breeds. He was aged 96, and all of his working life was spent in the army, which he joined at the age of 14 as a bugler in The Royal Horse Artillery, where he was given the nickname; ‘Badge.’

Eventually he answered to no other name, and it was by this name I commended him into the safe keeping of our loving God.

Unless they serve in the armed forces, my generation have no direct experience of war, and have never felt the fear of knowing when the next moment might be their last.

Badge however, was involved in the Second World War, and during this time he lived with this fear when in Singapore where he was captured by the Japanese and sent to the jungle prison camps. He spent 4 years in horrendous circumstances, brutalised by the prison guards, starved of decent food and riddled with tropical illnesses.

I’m now, with his family’s permission, going to read part of his eulogy from his funeral, as written by his son, Clive.

 

MY DAD JOINED THE ARMY AT THE AGE OF 14 & BECAME A BUGLER IN THE ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY HENCE HIS NICKNAME OF BADGE.  HE WAS SENT TO WAR AT THE TENDER AGE OF ONLY 19 & HE WAS THE YOUNGEST SERGEANT IN THE BRITISH ARMY AT THAT TIME. HE WAS CAPTURED AND SPENT 4 YEARS IN A JAPANESE PRISONER OF WAR CAMP BUILDING A RAILWAY FOR THE JAPANESE.

THERE WAS APPARENTLY A SAYING THAT FOR EVERY RAILWAY SLEEPER THERE WAS ONE DEAD PRISONER. SUCH WERE THE CONDITIONS. IT WAS KNOWN AS THE RAILWAY OF DEATH. IF ANY OF YOU HAVE SEEN THE FILM OR READ THE BOOK; ‘THE RAILWAY MAN’ THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT MY DAD WENT THROUGH.  HE TOLD US HOW HE WAS TORTURED & SAID THEY USED TO MAKE HIM STAND WITH A BANANA IN HIS MOUTH & WITH HIS ARMS STRETCHED OUT IN THE TROPICAL SUN. 

IF HE GOT TEETH MARKS ON THE BANANA HE WOULD BE BEATEN.

WHEN HE WAS FINALLY RESCUED HE CONDUCTED LORD LOUIS MOUNTBATTEN AROUND THE CAMP.

THE REASON HE HAD TO DO THIS WAS BECAUSE HE WAS THE ONLY PRISIONER LEFT WITH A HALF DECENT PAIR OF SHORTS.

 LATER ON, ON THE SHIP HOME, A DOCTOR TOLD DAD TO HIS FACE THAT HE WOULDN`T LIVE PAST 50. BOY DID HE PROVE THAT DOCTOR WRONG. 

WHEN HE TOLD US ABOUT THIS A FEW YEARS AGO, HE JOKED THAT HE BET HE’D OUTLIVED THE DOCTOR.  WE THINK HE MAY WELL HAVE BEEN THE LAST OF THE BRITISH PRISONERS OF WAR.

 IT IS A SOBERING THOUGHT THAT IF IT WASN`T FOR THE SACRIFICES THAT PEOPLE LIKE HIM MADE, NONE OF US WOULD LIKELY BE HERE.

WHILE GOING THROUGH ALL THE PAPERS IN THE HOUSE WE CAME ACROSS A LETTER TO MY DAD SIGNED BY KING GEORGE THE 6th, THANKING HIM FOR HIS SACRIFICE & SERVICE TO THE COUNTRY.  WE ALSO FOUND A LETTER FROM TONY BLAIR, (WHO DAD DISLIKED INTENSELY), & ALSO ONE FROM THE QUEEN CONGRATULATING HIM & MY MUM ON THEIR 70th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. THEY WERE ACTUALLY MARRIED FOR 73 YEARS & IN THEIR 74th WHEN MUM PASSED AWAY.

DAD HADN’T BEEN DOING TOO WELL SINCE MY MOTHER DIED & HAD BEEN IN & OUT OF HOSPITAL FOR ONE THING AFTER ANOTHER.  DESPITE THAT, HE WAS ALWAYS IN GOOD HUMOUR.  IN JULY HE ENDED UP IN HOSPITAL YET AGAIN, THIS TIME HAVING SUFFERED A STROKE.  HE LOST THE USE OF HIS LEFT ARM & LEG BUT EVEN THEN HE WAS STILL CRACKING JOKES.  HE WAS VERY UNHAPPY IN HOSPITAL & JUST WANTED TO GO HOME. I SAID; ‘BUT DAD, HOW CAN YOU GO HOME WHEN YOU CAN`T EVEN MOVE YOUR LEFT ARM?  HE MADE HIS RIGHT HAND INTO A GUN, POINTED IT AT HIS LEFT ARM & SAID, "MOVE YOU BASTARD".

HE LIVED IN A LOT OF PLACES IN THE UK & IN THE LATTER PART OF HIS WORKING LIFE HE WAS IN SOUTH AFRICA WHERE HE WORKED IN PYROTECHNICS.  WHEN HE FINALY RETIRED FROM THAT JOB, HE RETURNED TO THE UK.

AS CHILDREN WE LIVED IN ARMY CAMPS & AT ONE OF THEM, WHEN I WAS JUST A SMALL LAD, I DUG UP A HAND GRENADE IN A SAND PIT. 

LUCKILY FOR ME IT WAS VERY RUSTED, BECAUSE AS I WAS WALKING HOME I WAS SWINGING IT AROUND ON THE PIN.  MUM DECIDED SHE DIDN`T LIKE THE LOOK OF IT & PUT IT ON THE WINDOW SILL. 

WELL, WHEN DAD CAME HOME & SAW THE GRENADE, HE NEARLY HAD A HEART ATTACK RIGHT THERE & THEN. 

HE CAREFULLY PUT IT IN HIS HAT ON THE BACK SEAT OF THE CAR & DROVE SLOWLY TO THE ARMY OFFICES.  HE TOLD US AFTERWARDS THAT THE PEOPLE IN THE OFFICE INSTANTLY VANISHED & HE WAS LEFT STANDING ON HIS OWN WITH THE GRENADE IN HIS HAT ON THE COUNTER. 

THEN A HEAD POKED AROUND THE CORNER & A VOICE SAID, “PUT IT IN THE FIRE BUCKET SERGEANT MAJOR".  WHEN HE HAD DONE THAT THEY CAME BACK IN.

DAD SAID AFTERWARDS THAT THE FIRE BUCKET WOULDN`T HAVE DONE A DARN THING IF THE GRENADE HAD’VE GONE OFF.

DAD WAS A VERY GREGARIOUS PERSON WHO MADE MANY FRIENDS WHERE EVER HE WENT.   HE WAS STILL DRIVING AROUND AT THE AGE OF 90 & IF ANYONE EVER HAD THOUGHTS OF BECOMING RELIGIOUS, A QUICK DRIVE DOWN NARROW CORNISH LANES WITH MY DAD AT THE WHEEL WOULD BRING YOU TO A QUICK DECISION.

 

And Badge’s Tribute ended with the framed poem which was presented to him when he retired in South Africa;

It’s entitled; ‘Bye Bye Badgie’ and the first letter of each line as you go down the verse spells his name; ‘Badgie Breeds’

 

Bloody fine chap,

And an expert indeed,

Does everything the job may need.

Good for a story, good for a joke,

Industrious workman, ino bloke.

But things must come to an end,

Rather sad to comprehend.

Everyone must reach the stage,

Expressed officially, as retirement age.

Duty done, no more to tell,

So long Badgie, we wish you well.

 

Badge is now gone, but hearing part of his eulogy has brought him to life again, and, along with our family members lost, we remember him. But this remembering, like our remembering today, is more than just a good thing to do; it is a crucial part of our humanity. Why do we remember? Why have we chosen to wear poppies, give money to the British Legion and to be here today?

The obvious reason is that we made a promise to do so. As a nation, we promised that we would never forget the sacrifices made by those who have fought on our behalf, and those who continue to do so today.

It’s a promise that we keep by being here now. And it’s a promise that we keep by telling the stories of those who died in war, and those who lived through it.

And even in an age which is fickle and wary of commitment, we remain true to this promise, which is now over a hundred years old.

Who we are today is shaped by the events of the past - in fact we can only understand our present by knowing the past.

The philosopher Soren Kierkergard said, "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” 

By researching and re-telling the stories of the past, we unpack the reasons why we are as we are today. And as we understand the present, so we can make choices for the future.

The men and women whose names are on War Memorials throughout the world aren’t there simply for information, they are there to remind us what it was like to serve and die in war. They remind us that real people, just like you and me, suffered terrible things in war, and continue to suffer today.

And as their names are read, we cannot but commit ourselves to building a world in which such lives need not be wasted.

And so we don’t look backwards to be maudlin.  We look back in order to shape the future, and to avoid the mistakes of the past. 

And another reason to remember lies in the word itself. We re-member.

All those millions of men and women who died, all those names on War Memorials up and down the country, they belong to us.  Let alone the millions of service animals such as horses and dogs who died alongside their comrades.

Their bodies are scattered across the fields of Europe, the deserts of North Africa, the jungles of Asia. But we remain ‘members’ together. So when we re-member, we bring back together something that has been torn apart.

When we re-member we put back together lives and bodies that were dis-membered. To re-member is to ensure that war and suffering do not have the final word.

I first met Badge on the death of his wife, and on one of my visits to him he lent me a book to read entitled; ‘The Miracle on the River Kwai.’ Written by Ernest Gordon, who was a prisoner with him.

It tells the story of what happened in those brutal jungles. Badge always hated the film; ‘Bridge over the River Kwai,’ which he considered Hollywood nonsense, but this book, he said, this was how it really was.

The book gives all the horrific details of life building the jungle railways; the casual beatings, the forced labour, the constant battle with infection and illness. The book tells the story of evil, but the miracle described in the book was one of faith.

The author, like Badge, arrived in Singapore without any real belief in God, but there, in those grim jungles, surrounded by death, he came to faith.  But there, in the least likely of circumstances, he discovered that God was alive and at work, even in the worst of places and the most terrible of situations. There in the jungle God remembered him and found him.

And that was also Badge’s experience. Like so many of those who fought, he rarely spoke of his experiences, but he did talk often about God, and about love and faith. And he said that he learnt about them on the River Kwai.

Just after the camps were liberated, the book’s author wrote this;

 

‘I had seen at first hand the cruelty. I knew something of suffering and what it meant to look death in the face. I knew the depths to which men could sink and the heights to which they could rise. I could speak of despair, but also of hope; of hatred, but also of love; of man without God, but also of man sustained by God. I knew the power of the demonic, and I knew the greater power of the Holy Spirit’

 

We remember to keep our promise;

We remember to learn from the mistakes of the past and to build peace in the future;

We re-member, to make whole that which was broken;

We remember that in all things, all places and in all horrors, hope, faith and love are stronger than the powers of darkness and death;

We remember them, because God remembers us.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Act of Commitment                                 

Let us pledge ourselves anew to the service of God and our fellow men and women: that we may help, encourage and comfort others, and support those working for the relief of the needy and for the peace and welfare of the nations.

 

Lord God our Father, we pledge ourselves to serve you in the cause of peace, for the relief of want and suffering, and for the praise of your name. Guide us by your Spirit; give us wisdom; give us courage; give us hope; and keep us faithful now and always.

Amen. 

 

 

Intercessions                        

Let us pray for all who suffer as a result of conflict,

and ask that God may give us peace.

 

For all in the services who have died in the violence of war, each one remembered by, and known, to God

May God give peace.  God give peace

 

For those who love them in death as in life, offering the distress of our grief and the sadness of our loss;

May God give peace.  God give peace

 

For all members of the armed forces who are in danger this day,

Remembering their family, friends, and all who pray for their safe return;

May God give peace.  God give peace

 

For civilian women, children, men and animals whose lives are disfigured by war or terror, calling to mind in penitence the anger and hatreds of humanity;

May God give peace.  God give peace

 

For peacemakers and peacekeepers, who seek to keep this world secure and free; for all who bear the burden and privilege of leadership, political, military and religious; asking for gifts of wisdom and resolve

in the search for reconciliation and peace;

May God give peace.  God give peace

 

O God of truth and justice, we hold before you those whose memory we cherish, and those whose names we will never know.

Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this broken world, and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm.

As we honour the past, may we put our faith in your future;

for you are the source of life and hope, now and for ever.

Amen.

 

Let us say together The Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come, thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,

for ever and ever.  

Amen.

 

Blessing

God grant to the living grace, to the departed rest,

to the Church, and all humanity, unity, peace and concord;

and to us and all God’s servants, life everlasting;

and may the Blessing of God Almighty,    

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among us, those whom we love,

and remain with us always.

Amen.

 

 

'When you go home,
tell them of us and say,
for their tomorrow, 
we gave our today'.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 11th November 2021 3:42 PM