In a recent episode of Doctor Who (the one with all the trees for the aficionados), he said “The human superpower is forgetting…” At this time of year, it feels like that couldn’t be further from the truth! We do an awful lot of remembering – within the church we remember all the saints and our own loved ones who have gone before us; we even “remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot“; and of course we stop for two minutes’ silence to remember all those whose lives have been lost in war. This year that will be particularly poignant as we commemorate the beginning of the First World War, with no veterans left who fought in it, but instead a carpet of 888, 246 red poppies for every lost British and Commonwealth serviceman at the Tower of London.
Doctor Who went on to say “if you remembered how things felt, you’d have stopped having wars…” It cannot fully honour the memory and sacrifice of those who died if we do nothing to prevent such loss of life again. It might seem strange to commemorate the beginning of a war, but unless we are more aware of how they start, we are powerless to stop them. We must learn the lessons of the past, and listen to and love one another, sometimes needing the courage to lay down our weapons first. There are ultimately no winners in wars. So yes, remember, but also act and pray for a better world for the generations yet to come – one where war is only a distant memory.
Revd Rosie Woodall, Priest-in-Charge of Bisley, Chalford, France Lynch and Oakridge, and of Bussage with Eastcombe