Hear this, you elders; give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers? Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation. Joel 1:2-3 (ESV)
Throughout Scripture, remembrance is a significant theme. Throughout the Old Testament, the children of Israel are urged to establish points of remembrance to pass on to their children. The example above is from Joel chapter 1.
Brief History of Remembrance Day
In the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth, Remembrance Day is traditionally marked on the second Sunday of November although this year we celebrate it this Sunday, closest to Armistice Day the 11th of November. Remembrance Day was first established in 1919 by the Late King George V to mark the official end of hostilities in the First World War. During 2016, we have remembered the Battle of the Somme which took place on either side of the River Somme in France between 1st July and 18th December 1916. This was the largest battle of the First World War with over 1 million dead and wounded.
A season of reflection and prayer
During remembrance week, and particularly on Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, we thank God for the freedoms we now enjoy because of those, who in both World Wars and subsequent conflicts, laid down their lives for our nation and the Commonwealth. This year as we reflect on the lives lost in past conflicts, may we proudly wear our poppies as a symbol of remembrance. In recent weeks, the nation has remembered the 116 children and 26 adults lost in the Aberfan disaster in Wales fifty years ago. In recent weeks, here in Scotland, two of our young soldiers have lost their lives while on training exercises in preparation for possible conflict. It is appropriate that we should remember them at this season as well. Pray for their families and comrades and pray for those for whom remembrance is a challenging time, as they recall loved ones lost. Let us also remember those who are living with life-shattering injuries because of conflict.
As we reflect and remember past wars, we cannot ignore current ones in the Middle East in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and other troubled areas of the world. Pray for the safety of our airmen flying sorties over Syria, our personnel training the Iraq and Afghanistan Forces and for their anxious families waiting at home.
It’s important to note that throughout all of those conflicts, our sailors, soldiers and airmen have had access to the Bible, having been presented with copies prior to deployment. Over the years, many have testified to the comfort the Scriptures have brought to their lives, while others testify to transformed lives through reading the Bible.
In the New Testament, remembrance is centered on the greatest of all sacrifices that of the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. And likewise, the cup after they had eaten, saying, This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. Luke 22:19-20 (ESV)
Let us never forget His ultimate sacrifice.
Vice Chairman of the Scottish Naval Military & Air Force Bible Society
Neil has been married to Barbara for 52 years. They have four married children and ten grandchildren. Neil served for nine years in the RAMC where he qualified as an SRN. Together with Barbara, he served for 40 years with SASRA as a Scripture Reader Evangelist, twenty-nine of those here in Scotland, where he worked as a travelling Scripture Reader and Area Representative. In retirement, he is Vice Chairman of the Scottish Naval Military and Air Force Bible Society and a trustee of the National Prayer Breakfast for Scotland.