Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday Reflection and a Response.
(With thanks to Helen Barrett)

Reflection: I Was There
I was there —
there in the trenches among the rats and lice,
struggling in the mud
as the machine guns spewed out their hail of bullets,
lying in agony beside the rows of corpses,
all around me the bodies of my friends,
limb torn from limb,
wounds gaping,
bodies shattered beyond recognition —
and my heart bled with them.

I was there in the city as the bombs cascaded from the sky,
there among the screams and sobs,
beating back the flames,
pulling away the rubble,
searching frantically with the mother
for the little one she would never see again —
and, like her, my heart went cold with horror.

I was there in the prison camp,
beaten, starved, tortured,
watching helplessly as one by one my loved ones were led away,
as the smoke rose above the ovens,
as the carts trundled from the gas chamber, laden with death —
and my heart groaned in despair.

I was there as the missile struck and the world disintegrated,
as the deadly cloud rose high above the devastation,
as we retched in agony,
as we coughed up blood,
as we sat hopelessly in the cancer ward,
knowing the end was near —
and my heart cried in anger.

Yes, I was there,
the one who died on a cross to put an end to death and misery
dying again,
and again,
and if you think it broke your heart,
remember this: it broke mine too.
You can’t change what’s been,
but you can what’s yet to be,
and, believe me, you would if you’d seen what I’ve seen.

I was there,
and I’m begging you,
don’t let it happen again!

Prayers of Intercession: Victims of War and Keepers of Peace with response

Lord of all, hear us now as we pray for the victims of war and for peace in our world.

We pray for those across the world who bear the scars of conflict —
the injured, maimed and mentally distressed,
those who have lost their limbs, their reason or their loved ones
through the horrors of war.
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

We pray for those left homeless or as refugees,
those who have lost their livelihoods and security
and those who still live in daily fear for their lives.
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

We pray for children who have been orphaned,
parents who mourn their children,
husbands and wives who have lost their partners —
countless families whose lives will never be the same again.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We pray for those in the armed forces,
charged with keeping the peace in countries across the world —
their work involving months away from family and friends,
and often danger to themselves.
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

We pray for world leaders and rulers,
politicians and diplomats —
those whose decisions and negotiations
affect the lives of so many,
and in whose hands peace ultimately lies.
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Lord of all,
give wisdom to all who work for peace,
so that a more secure future may be ensured for all.
Give courage to those who strive for justice,
so that the causes of conflict may be overcome.
Give strength to those who seek to break down barriers,
that divisions over race, colour, creed and culture may be ended.
Grant that wherever war, or the threat of war,
continues to haunt lives,
a way of reconciliation may be found,
and harmony established between people and nations.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

In the name of Christ.