Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance Day

As we see so many people die at a young age, through wars, starvation, AIDS, street violence, and physical and emotional neglect, we often wonder what the value of their short lives is.  It seems that their journeys have been cut off before they could reach any of their goals, realise any of their dreams, or accomplish any of their tasks.   But, short as their lives may have been, they belong to that immense communion of saints, from all times and all places, who stand around the throne of the Lamb dressed in white robes proclaiming the victory of the crucified Christ (see Revelation 7:9).

The story of the innocent children murdered by King Herod in his attempt to destroy Jesus (see Matthew 2:13-18), reminds us that saintliness is not just for those who lived long and hardworking lives.  These children, and many who died young, are as much witnesses to Jesus as those who accomplished heroic deeds…

Through baptism we become part of a family much larger than our biological family. It is a family of people “set apart” by God to be light in the darkness. These set-apart people are called saints. Although we tend to think about saints as holy and pious, and picture them with halos above their heads and ecstatic gazes, true saints are much more accessible. They are men and women like us, who live ordinary lives and struggle with ordinary problems. What makes them saints is their clear and unwavering focus on God and God's people. Some of their lives may look quite different, but most of their lives are remarkably similar to our own.

The saints are our brothers and sisters, calling us to become like them.

Henri Nouwen

On this Remembrance Day, as we remember the young lives cut short in their brightest of days by war, and all the tangled and compromised politics of war, it is more than well worth remembering that death is not the end; that these dear people who have died are still our family, our friends, our lovers… One day, our praise with blend with theirs before the throne of mercy.

It is not true
that this world and its people
are doomed to die and be lost.

This is true:
God so loved the world
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believes in him,
shall not perish but have everlasting life.

It is not true
that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination,
hunger and poverty, death and destruction.

This is true:
I have come that they may have life,
and that abundantly.

It is not true
that violence and hatred should have the last word,
and that war and destruction have come to stay forever.

This is true:
Unto us a child is born,
and unto us a Son is given,
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God,
the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Allan Boesak

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