This week, Carrie’s school, like many had their annual Remembrance Day Assembly. The grade four and five choir sang “Take One Minute to Stand.” Since then the words have been floating through my mind. “Take one minute to stand all across this land, just one minute to stand an remember. The 11th month, the 11th day, the 11th hour we stop and say. We remember, we will never forget.” And as the words of the song floated through my mind, I could see the faces of the young men from honour included in our book, I remembered standing next to the Vimy Ridge covered with names of young Canadians, I remembered the haunting grave stone with the Caribou of the Newfoundland Regiment inscribed with the words, “Known only to God” and standing in front of the danger tree at Beaumont Hamel knowing that in 30 minutes more than 700 hundred were people were killed. The countryside of France and Belgium is dotted with cemeteries filled soldiers who died on both sides of the war.
And my heart breaks when I think of the loss. Not just in WWI but in WWII, the Korean War, in Afghanistan, and in the many places Canadian peace keepers have died. So many have given their lives for a world of peace and we must remember their sacrifice. The act of remembering is a holy. Holy because we are doing two things at once. We are giving thanks for the veterans who gave so much at same time as we also look for ways to ensure the peace that they fought for lives on. Our reading from the book of Isaiah holds the promise of what our world would like if peace abounded. It is this kind of peace that we must strive for in communities, in our country and in our world. Isaiah writes:
“ In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
3 Many peoples shall come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:2 -4)
One commentator writes, “Isaiah draws attention away from the gaze on military might and toward the reign of God. Jerusalem is not the beleaguered people under threat, but the center of life-giving teaching, the flourishing of life, and a source of light for all people. When our gaze shifts from a horizon of fear to a horizon of hope, trust in God grows deep roots that sustain life.” https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2236
That is what we are about as a people of faith. Today the holy act of remembering is also an invitation to live into that world where swords become plowshares and spears are pruning hooks and no one will learn the art of warfare. It is our job, it is our calling as followers of the way of Jesus to do the holy work of remembering so that we can strive for that day when “nation shall not lift up sword against nation” (Isaiah 2:4) In the beatitudes Jesus is teaching us how to be about God’s work in the world. He says in verse nine “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Theses blessings turn the world upside down because Jesus invites us to follow a path that puts others first.
Today we take one minute to stand and remember and give thanks. Today and every day we live into the calling to be peacemakers in our world. Amen.