A message from the Rev’d Amanda Collinson

Posted by Admin on Wednesday, 25th October 2017, 23:22

Amanda Collinson

Priest-in-Charge

St John the Baptist Church

Northwood.

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Tel: 01983 294913

Email: amandacollinson01@gmail.com

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Hello there!

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How many of you have said this week ‘Remind me tomorrow, because I will forget’? How many of you could not survive without post-its, fridge noticeboards, pieces of paper by your bedside? How many of you have said only this week ‘I had forgotten that’?  I would be putting my hand up for each of these and I am sure there are many of you who will be doing the same….and to those of you with perfect memories and no need of post-its, PLEASE do not come and tell me when you see me next!
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So, with all of us being so bad at remembering, how can we confidently say each year on Remembrance Sunday ‘We will remember them’? Is it because the two World Wars and subsequent conflicts were so traumatic that we cannot etch them from our memory? Or is it because we have such great reminders around us – the poppy sellers, the Royal British Legion concert at the Royal Albert Hall, the numerous Remembrance services around our communities? Whether it is one or a combination of both, there are (fortunately) very few people who can live through November without reflecting on the sacrifice hundreds of thousands of people made for our freedom which we enjoy today.
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Sacrifice – it is a word that is not used as much today as it was before. Indeed service, loyalty, sacrifice, comradeship all sound rather historic. What do those words mean to you? To my boys they would probably mean being a good friend and sticking up for them in the playground but to adults they mean a bit and more specifically to those of us who have served in the military they have a whole level of addition meanings – they are words that were drummed into us from the day we walked through the training establishment gates to the day we left service, and still stay with us whatever age we are. They are words that changed us and moulded us.
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This year we have commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele. Also known as the Third Battle of Ypres or the Battle of Mud, it was a horrifically costly battle that saw so much sacrifice, loyalty, service. After three months of fierce fighting, the British and Canadian forces finally took control of the tiny village of Passchendaele in the West Flanders region of Belgium – For the sake of a few kilometres, the Allied forces had lost 310,000 men and the Germans 260,000….it was one of the bloodiest battles of World War I.
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What will they be remembering in 100 years’ time about 2017?  The inauguration of President Donald Trump? The evil terrorist attacks in Manchester Arena? The Grenfell Tower fire? The shocking earthquakes and hurricanes? The horrendous gun attack in Las Vegas? I am sure all these significant events will be remembered in some way shape or form, but we probably won’t be all wearing a flower and standing together on a particular day remembering those who died.
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Sacrifice.  Service. Loyalty. Relatively short words, and yet they mean so such and that’s why the events commemorating them are still observed. Without the sacrifice of the men and women who served in the World Wars we would be living in a very different country. We must treasure their memories and remember them but we can also help each other now, today, by doing our own bit of service and sacrificing some of our time, food, money, whatever we can for those who are not as fortunate as ourselves. We live in a community, we are part of a community: As an author once said, ‘It is in our hands — yours and mine — to make a decision to work, to work together, and to work with others around the whole world, to build friendship, and love, and understanding among all people.’  If we each do a little bit of selfless service we would make our community even greater than it is already.
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The widows and families whose loved ones did not return ‘treasured’ the love letters, the little photos, special cufflinks they had of the person who died. Think about what you treasure – Is it family and friends or is it something you own? As we gather together this month and recall the sacrifice of those who served and continue to serve, remember to ‘treasure’ those things that really matter – the people that you love, the values you hold, not the material things. Let’s work together to try and end this year on a positive note, where we are remembered for little ‘sacrifices’ we all have made to make our world a better place. We all can do it, old or young, rich or poor, retired or working – we just need to want to do it…. for the good of our community, not just ourselves. We all can have a role to play in this battle!
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Wishing you a peaceful, reflective and good remembrance month!

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Rev’d Amanda.

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