But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.
In the spirit of traditions honored in my new church home, I would like to acknowledge today as Remembrance Sunday, as it is celebrated in the Methodist Church in Britain. In the UK and many places around the world tomorrow, November 11, is Remembrance Day. This honors the day that arms were put down to end World War I, and has become a time to remember all those who have been lost to the violence of war. Today's scripture reminds us to give thanks to God for our brothers and sisters and to hold fast to our traditions. So we will hold fast to this tradition that bids us remember and give thanks for those who willingly sacrificed for us. At the same time, we pray fervently that no such sacrifices will ever be needed again, as we pray for peace.
To this end, I would like to share a poem written for the day by the President of the Methodist Conference, the Reverend Barbara Glasson.
What do we remember today?
The child with the gun
The shell of the house
The crumble of dreams
The breaking of bodies and peace?
The ringing of ears
The screaming of shot
The shrapnel of brick
The breaking of cover and trust?
The bearing of arms
The bearing of grief
The bearing of news
The breaking of treaties and pacts?
The braving of stares
The shaking of heads
The silence of days
The breaking of promise and hearts?
The living for peace
The longing to change
The disarming of hate
The breaking of patterns of war?
The piercing of death
The weeping of friends
The anguish of grief
The rising and breaking of bread?
Let us pray together this prayer written by the same author.
God of peace and gentleness
we remember with deep sorrow
the fault, fear, and failure,
that repeatedly leads to the forming of enemies,
the escalation of hatred
and to war.
We repent of our complicity in cycles violence
for colluding with anger
or defaulting to patterns of hostility.
as we remember those who have
suffered as a result of our forgetfulness
or our inhumanity one to another,
that we may also,
disarm our desire to overpower, capture, or vanquish.
Help us to resist peacefully every form of violence
so that we can follow you
in ways of gentleness and justice,
continually resolving to form life-giving relationships,
strengthened by the forgiveness of Jesus
the fearlessness of the Spirit
the transforming love of the Creator.