How I remember what I mustn’t forget!
I was never any good at remembering what the teachers wanted me to remember at school, but I now have some symbols that remind me of what has been most important to my life. Together they make my ‘home alone communion’ in which I can remember what unites my memories. If you want to try it you will need a poppy, stone, grapes, bread and a jug of water with a glass, or wine or juice.
As an after the war child born in 1947 I REMEMBER today as I hold my poppy the many people who sacrificed their lives so I could be born with the opportunity to grow in a world at peace. The Walking the Way project of the United Reformed Church produced a reflection for Remembrance and invite us to read Micah 6: 8 as we hold our poppy:
“We have been shown, O people, what is good and the Lord requires us to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God!”
With those words I can REMEMBER people who walked humbly with God to seek the peace that comes through love and justice. I am encouraged to reflect on the first petal of my poppy and remember those who have lost their lives in conflict and pray that there has been a healing of the memories for families and friends who grieved so that forgiveness can reach out across the borders of our nations. Looking at the second petal I pray for those continuing to suffer because of present conflicts and pray that we need not be afraid for the ‘peace’ of Christ will silence the weapons of war.
Behind the poppy is a leaf, a reminder of many people in the background who support the victims of conflict and they should not be forgotten. They could represent the health workers and carers of the war against Covid, but whoever they are they should never be forgotten for Christ is in them, healing the wounds and wiping away the tears. Christ is the stem on which the poppy grows so as we REMEMBER THEM we REMEMBER HIM!
I put the POPPY on my table to represent the many names, voice and faces broken for me and broken for you as Jesus was broken for us…..
The most precious gift I have is a painted stone given to me nearly 40 years ago and it reminds me of a friendship that can never be broken for the love is so strong. It reminds me of the words of Jesus in Luke 19: 40 because when I feel like being silent, “the stone cries out at me!!” It is a reminder of love and friendship that is so strong that it cannot be broken so as I remember the love with which the stone was given I remember Jesus in the giving. WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS!
I put the STONE on my table to represent the love I have known and can never forget because God’s love for us is unbreakable, lasting forever….
The symbol of the GRAPE is a wonderful reminder for me of how our faith is pruned through the many experiences we encounter so that we can become the good fruit on the True Vine. If I don’t feel ready to take communion I can take a grape and pray I will grow to be who God wants me to be and if I am ready I know the depth of love to be shared — to be received and to be given. (John 15: 1-17) It’s the greatest love we can give, to lay down our lives for our friends. Jesus did it for us on the cross and people did it, and continue to do it, on the frontlines of our conflicts today, whether they be physical, emotional, spiritual, personal or global. Jesus is the friend in the heart of our friends who have laid down their lives for us.
I put GRAPES on my table to represent the good fruit I can become in the world and commit my life to seek the justice, through love that brings peace….
I can never forget when I take bread and hold it how Jesus came into the world reflecting the whole image of God and wants us to be the same through the power of his Spirit. I remember how Jesus is in the lives of the broken who are hungry, homeless, thirsty, naked, sick and in prison (Matthew 25: 31-46) and, no doubt, the victims of the many conflicts past and present. We don’t live on bread alone, but on the very words that come from the mouth of God, delivered through the flesh of Jesus Christ.
I pray that my BREAD will be blessed as I break it and remember how Jesus Christ was broken on the cross, but lives in the hearts of faithful people today….
Then finally I must pour a drink. It might be wine or it could be water imagining how our lives will be better than we ever expected as the love of God is poured out from within us. It is also a reminder of how Jesus poured out his love for us and people before us have been “poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from their faith.” (Philippians 2: 17)
So I DRINK and remember Jesus and how he filled people with his love so they could pour it out for us so that we can rejoice and live in his peace….. AMEN
They didn’t teach me any of that at school and if they had I am sure I would have REMEMBERED sooner than I did because Jesus is in my poppy, stone, grapes and bread as I drink to him and everyone who has lived for him in the past. He is in the Remembering of the many; in the friendship that lasts for ever, in the love that brings peace, in the hearts of the broken and lives poured out like a drink offering….
The Kingdom Come prayer for yesterday was for the elderly, isolated and vulnerable so we echo God’s commitment to those most at risk of this virus by praying today for those who are particularly vulnerable and isolated: praying for their deliverance, protection and comfort. We hold before God those who care for them – that they would be strengthened and encouraged in this work.
Today the prayer is for businesses, the workplace and economic well being and we remember before God those who face great uncertainty in their work.We lift before God those who have lost their jobs and face an uncertain and difficult future. We pray for a renewed commitment to our common life together.
Tomorrow we pray for the NHS and key workers: Our God is the great healer – and the agent used more than any other is the NHS. Today we voice our gratitude for those who serve this country in the National Health Service and pray for that God would prosper the work of their hands – that they would all be encouraged in their continued work of sacrifice and care amongst us.
Also pray for five friends — or more