Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You don't have to have x ray vision to have deduced that I have an on-going struggle with Remembrance Sunday, and the associated rituals (another 2 minute silence at 11 today, the date of the WW1 Armistice itself) and some of my disquiet was very well aired in an article on the Ekklesia site (ht Dr Moose)

The church is uniquely placed to bring such a perspective. Its new position in post-Christendom may call it to have less focus on the nation state, and call society to a broader view to remember both friends and enemies.

If we accept the Remembrance Day rhetoric, that soldiers laid down their lives to give us the liberties we enjoy today, then surely that must include the freedom to choose how we remember the dead, and say what we believe? Indeed, it does a disservice to their memory not to allow such choice and conscience to be expressed.

Remembrance Sunday needs to experience the liberation to which is pays lip service. The church should be the freedom fighter to bring it.

Dr Moose is almost certainly right that they have over simplified in order to make their point, but nonetheless...

However, because I do not wish in any way to minimise the sacrifice of those whose death has transformed them from ordinary men - scared, angry, homesick, heartsick - into heroes "Whose name liveth for evermore" I'll leave these Remembrance reflections with the words of one who surely had more right than most to comment, Wilfred Owen. That final couplet makes me shiver whenever I read it...

The Parable of the Old Man & the Young

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,

And took the fire with him, and a knife.

And as they sojourned both of them together,

Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,

Behold the preparations, fire and iron,

But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?

Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps

and builded parapets and trenches there,

And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.

When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,

Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,

Neither do anything to him, thy son.

Behold! Caught in a thicket by its horns,

A Ram. Offer the Ram of Pride instead.


But the old man would not so, but slew his son,

And half the seed of Europe, one by one.



2 comments:

marcella said...

I cried at that - rather embarrassingly as I'm reading it at work which I shouldn't.

Mary Beth said...

Holy smokes.

Didn't expect it. Wow.