Each Remembrance Sunday evening sees Bethel Chapel full to the seams with people wanting simply to honour people who have fought for freedom in wars, some who have lost their lives, some who have been wounded, and others who came home never the same again. People gather to thank God for peace and safety and to pray.
The service includes beautiful old hymns, sung with strength and meaning - O God our Help in Ages Past, O Valiant Hearts, Make me a Channel of your Peace, I Vow to thee my Country and The Day Thou Gavest Lord is Ended. The words, said by an ex-soldier, “They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old…….” brings a lump to everyone’s throat, and the sound of the bugle for Last Post and Reveille tests everyone’s ability to keep their emotions under control.
There are lovely, comforting, strengthening readings from the Bible and beautiful solos by Beryl Hill - “You raise me Up”, and “Do not Stand at my Grave and Weep”. There are prayers for peace, prayers of thanksgiving and a most moving time when the Buffs stand and sing their heart-rending “Absent Brethren.” We light candles in memory of someone we love who is no longer living on earth and we offer poppies in thankfulness at the foot of the Cross of Christ to those who have laid down their lives for us to live in freedom, as did Jesus.
Jesus said “Blessed are the peace-makers, for they will be called sons of God.” Jesus also said “Greater love has no man than this - that he lay down his life for his friends.” As One who laid down His own life so that we could be Friends of God, each year, Remembrance Sunday holds more and more deeper meaning.
Until next year, as we worship and serve Him, may the God of Peace bless us all.