Service of Remembrance
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Scugog Island United Church
November 8th 2020
Welcome and Opening Prayer
Anthem: Peace for the Children
Scripture Reading: Romans 8: 31-39
Anthem: God Weeps
Time of Remembrance
Poem: High Flight by John Gillespie Magee Jr.
Read by Tom Rennick
Poem: Flanders Fields by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae
Read by Michelle Wells
Due to technical issues this recording will be re-uploaded.
Honour Roll and Act of Remembrance
Last Post, Moment of Silence, Rouse
Offering and Blessing
Go Now in Peace
Scugog Island United Church
November 8th, 2020
Good morning. Thank you for worshiping with Scugog Island United Church today. As is the tradition at SIUC our service will be one of Remembrance for those who died in service, for all who have served and continue to serve, and to remember how war has touched everyone.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. On November 11th at 11am let us all observe a moment of silence to honour those who have fallen and to acknowledge those who have served and continue to serve for our freedom.
Remembrance Day Services on Wednesday have moved online. The National Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa will be shared live on Facebook. Below I will share a link to the Facebook page of The Royal Canadian Legion- National Headquarters where the service will be broadcasting.
I am also aware that The City of Oshawa, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43 and Royal Canadian Branch 637 will have their service broadcasted on Rogers TV Durham, cable 10, beginning at 10:30
Help us remember, O God. Help us remember the terrible heights our human ambition can carry us. Help us remember the tragic direction we move when we make decisions based on fear. Help us remember the pain and loss from when the path of peace was abandoned. Help us remember, so that we might honour all those who have worked for peace in the midst of suffering. In the name of Jesus, the beloved who reminds us of the cost of peace and the wholeness that comes from You, we pray. Amen.
Scripture: Romans 8: 31-39
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Today I want to talk about the strength and fragility of peace. This past week with the contentious US election as well as events around the world this past year have shown that peace isn’t always guaranteed. Just because we have achieved peace in one moment doesn’t mean it will last forever without any thought or effort on our part. Peace is something we are always striving for; it is something that if we give up on or ignore we can easily lose. With Remembrance Day on Wednesday it is important for us to take time to remember the sacrifices people have made and continue with the hope of ensuring peace in the world.
Several years ago while I was still in seminary, I was working with a church youth group. A conversation I had with one of the youth regarding Remembrance Day has always stayed in my mind. The young man was reflecting on what he had learned about the poppy. He was surprised to learn that the poppy was considered a weed. He didn’t think that it was right that the symbol for peace and remembrance should be a weed. But then he said, “On the other hand weeds spread, and its nice to think that peace spreads.”
Poppy is a symbol of the Strength and Fragility of Peace. Like any plant a poppy needs the right amount of moisture; if it doesn’t get enough the leaves will wilt, if it gets too much the roots might rot. A poppy needs a good amount of sunlight and the right temperatures to survive. They can become infected like any plant. In many ways they are fragile. Yet the poppy was able to grow and thrive in the midst of a war that devastated all life. Even when peace between nations had been destroyed and the land was torn apart the poppies grew and crossed the boundaries between them. It was a symbol of resilience and hope.
For some the poppies were a reminder of home. In his poem “Red Poppies in the Corn”, Lieutenant-Colonel W. Campbell Galbraith wrote that the poppies brought him hope of returning home.
I’ve seen them in the morning light, When white mists drifted by. I’ve seen them in the dusk o’ night Glow ‘gainst the starry sky. The slender waving blossoms red, Mid yellow fields forlorn. A glory on the scene they shed, Red Poppies in the Corn.
I’ve seen them, too, those blossoms red, Show ‘gainst the Trench lines’ screen. A crimson stream that waved and spread Thro’ all the brown and green. I’ve seen them dyed a deeper hue Than ever nature gave, Shell-torn from slopes on which they grew To cover many a grave.
Bright blossoms fair by nature set Along the dusty ways, You cheered us, in the battle’s fret, Thro’ long and weary days. You gave us hope: if fate be kind, We’ll see that longed-for morn, When home again we march and find Red Poppies in the Corn.
Even in the bleakest, most hopeless situation, there was life growing and hope for a return to peace.
Peace requires continued effort, so it is important that we remember. We share the stories of those who served and those who lived through war, never to glorify war, but to remember the sacrifices people made. On the Homefront people made sacrifices. Rationing food, working in factories, volunteering in their communities, and in many other ways to ensure there was enough supplies for those who were serving.
Everyone who served and serves has to make sacrifices. No weekends or holidays. Working in harsh conditions and doing stressful jobs. Being separated for long periods of time from their home, family and community. For parents who serve they miss the milestone moments of their children’s lives. They make the sacrifice of the safety many of take for granted. There is toll on their physical and emotional well-being. Many soldiers returned home with serious injuries- the physical injuries and scars that everyone could see, but many carried invisible wounds to their mental health. And many paid the ultimate sacrifice and never had the chance to live their life. We remember their sacrifices. We are grateful for it, and we know that it is up to us to continue the work of peace so that their sacrifices are not in vain.
Today let us remember that as Christians our enemy is not the people of other countries. It is not the people who vote differently than we do. It is not those who hold different values or beliefs than us. Our enemy is everything that contributes to the systemic forms of injustice, violence and hatred in our world.
Peace is fragile. If we don’t work at keeping it, it can be lost. Yet even then, just as the poppy grew between the trenches, there is hope that peace can and will return. In his letter to the Romans Paul writes that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. He acknowledges that there are many forces in the world that can be in opposition to God, but none of these, not even the sword or death can hold back God’s action.
In Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection we see the fragility of our human attempts to achieve peace, justice, and wholeness. We also see the overwhelming strength of God’s action to restore the brokenness in the world. May we continue to work for peace in the world as we follow Jesus. We live in God’s world and we are not alone. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Poem: High Flight by Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee Jr.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
Poem: Flanders Fields by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Reading the Honour Roll
George Herbert Jannings
John Vietch Baird
Private Ryan Morely
William Joseph Packard
Private Ryan Singer
Sgt James Sloss Taylor
James Walter Stowell-Smith
Act of Remembrance
One: They shall grow not old,
as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
and in the morning
We will remember them.
All: We will remember them.
An except from “For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon
Moment of Silence
We begin our prayer by lifting up those on our prayer list and all the people we are holding in our hearts:
Doris Lynn and Bob Homji, John and Diane Findlay, Todd Green, Susie Baird and family, Gilford Pfrimmer, Brenda Stowell-Smith, Nancy and Don Scarrow, Debbie McIntyre, Anne Chillingworth, Linda Brunton, John Black
Direct us toward your perfect peace O God. Your peace which surpasses all understanding. Your peace that can calm the storm or troubled heart.
Your peace that brings wholeness to a broken world.
Help us to know your peace and to be filled with it. So that we may follow the path of your son Jesus Christ which leads us out into the world. May we carry the light of hope, peace, and love to places of despair.
We give thanks for the witness of all who have followed the way before us.
Today we remember and honour all those who lived through times of conflict and war, but held onto the hope of peace for future generations.
We give thanks for those men and women who served their country in times of war.
Help us to remember the many sacrifices they made. Many made the ultimate sacrifice, but everyone of them made countless sacrifices for others. Such as giving up the daily comforts we take for granted, the time they were unable to spend with loved ones, the trauma of witnessing the horrors of war, as well as the cost on their health.
May we always remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and did not return home from war.
But may we also remember all those who returned home with scars, some visible and some that could not be seen.
Let us honour them by committing ourselves to preserving and strengthening the peace they longed for. Help us to learn from the stories they have shared.
For all those of every time and place who have worked to build peace we give thanks. Grant that we may be channels of your peace as we serve Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Amen.
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory. For ever and ever. Amen.
We bring our gifts to you, God. Here is the work of our hands, and here is the work of our hearts. Accept them and use them, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God, it is your will
that there be peace on earth as in heaven.
May the design of your great love
shine on this broken world,
and give peace to your Church,
peace among nations,
peace in our homes,
and peace in our hearts. Amen.
Photo taken by Michelle Wells
Offering and Blessing Prayers from Celebrate God's Presence: A Book of Services for The United Church of Canada. (c) 2000 The United Church Publishing House. All Rights Reserved. All materials, except those otherwise marked, may be freely copied for use in public worship in The United Church of Canada.