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Remembrance Sunday

Lots of us are afraid, not I trust ever as afraid as a civilian in Syria, as a soldier on foot in Helmand province or as a Christian in Zimbabwe, but there are still circumstances that make us afraid.

Micah tells us that in days to come, we will go to the mountain of the Lord so that he may teach us his ways and his ways are that sword will be beaten into ploughshare and spear into pruning hook.  On this day, Remembrance Sunday, when we remember those who fought for freedom, who have lost their lives or have been injured in body, mind or spirit, fighting, we can readily pray for this, we may pray that nation shall not fight nation any more nor learn war anymore.  We think of those on the front lines today and we pray for this peace.

But the Lordís ways are more than this: ďThey shall sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees and no-one shall make them afraid.Ē

One evening, as I was coming home on the metro from La Defence to our home in the west of the city, I caught sight of Nathalie further down on the crowded platform.  Now I liked Nathalie and hadnít seen her for a while and so, hoping to catch her eye and have a conversation, I began to move down the platform towards her.  However, before I could reach her though, the train came in and we ended up in separate carriages.  I had to change at the next stop but was pleased to see, when I got out, that she had too and was heading off down a tunnel still crowded.  This was my direction and so I followed to the next platform, still trying to catch her up.  Her train came in straight away, not the same as mine and as she passed by, I noticed through the window that she looked worried.  Suddenly I realised that she had not recognized me and had become concerned that a strange man was trying to catch her eye and (by chance I hasten to add) was following her through the maze of the Parisian subway.  Nathalie was not sitting peacefully under her fig tree.

A while ago, in one of those all too commonplace occurrences, Francesí car was broken into, nothing at all was taken but it was a place where we liked to walk Fidget and ever since Frances hasnít really wanted to go there: she doesnít sit comfortably under her vine there anymore.

These two examples, the one inadvertently my fault, the other an unintended consequence of someone hoping for a free Sat-Nav, show us how easily it is to be frightened or to frighten and how different the Lordís ways are.  The picture of being able to sit safely under our own vine or fig tree is beautiful, and surely as God intended his creation to be.

How could we ever make our world like that?  How could we get there?  Well certainly not without Godís help but it is I think for each one of us to be careful and caring:

Careful not to intimidate anyone, intentionally or unintentionally, to recognize that an unknown and unknowable history might make someone shy, nervous frightened of many things and

Caring of our neighbour, to be individually at peace with one another.  This is not at all easy but it is the only way that swords and spears will be beaten into ploughshares and pruning hooks for giving up arms and the birth of world peace begins like love, at home with our nearest neighbours.


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