Hope Returns!

Being a minister of the Gospel is a great privilege. Yesterday I had the unique opportunity to preach at the Scottish War Memorial in Edinburgh Castle. This is a service that takes place every year. It is a chance to remember and support in prayer all those who carry with them the wounds and scars of war and who feel the loss and pain of bereavement. It is a special service in that it seeks to highlight Scots who have given the greatest sacrifice of all. While there is much talk about the political implications of troops in Afghanistan and columns of words written in newspapers,  this short service highlights what no building or memorial can ever do adequately,  the loss and devastaion that so many families carry in their hearts daily. Finding the right thing to say is very important. I chose the theme "Hope Returns".  We all need hope do we not?  The scripture readings  were from  Lamentations 3. 18-26 and  2 Corinthians 4. 7-18. Its amazing that we can always find a verse of scripture to bring comfort in the most difficult of times. I have always loved the Lamentations quote. I'll paraphrase it in my own words. " Yet hope returns, when Ii remember this one important thing. Even when I feel the bitter taste of sorrow in my mouth. Some how its the stedfast love of God that over whelms me. His kindnesses are made new to me every morning. How faithful your are Oh God. It is this confidence in God's mercy that continually turns my cynicism into singing. So what a wonderful day we had yesterday and what a wonderful message to give to those whose hearts were hurting. Those of you who know this passage of scripture will know what the writer intends by  inviting the reader to wait for God. For it is in the waiting that we encounter his presence. Prayer God of the broken hearted Father of all Saviour of the world Draw near to us For we do not know how to draw close to you So many emotions stir within us this morning Sadness and grief Threaten to overwhelm us. Courage and loyalty Inspired by those we love Strengthens us to stand tall Yet to be bereaved Means to be emptied of everything Stripped bear Vulnerable Wasting away inside Crumbling Come Holy Spirit of God Bind up the broken hearted   Strengthen the weary Give new courage to those who failing Enable us all to become People waiting With expectation For hope will return Great is your faithfulness Through Christ Our Lord      

Posted By: Helmut   On: 4 Jun 2012   At: 12:40pm

When we were very young,

There was just a single photo,

Of him who died just before the end of the war.

Grandfather who never was,

How much I hated your son !

For what mum and I suffered.

Little did I know he was a broken man

Because you were never there.

Now they tell me of

Our Guilt Eternal,

That nobody wants to remember you and your friends,

Because you are the Eternal Evil Incarnate.

But to him you should have been a father,

A grandfather to me.

I do not remember your photo,

And I only just worked out where you died.

Late in my life I will now try and remember



Posted By: Helmut   On: 31 May 2012   At: 6:42pm

I tried to talk our pastor into sharing St.Andrew’s Remembrance Garden a few years ago.

He told me, no, most of us want to generally forget all about it.

Being a Hun and loosing two wars makes for a different perspective, I suppose, but in my mind it is Human Beings we are talking about. But we in Germany seem to be sadly unable to differentiate. That much for a nation of Poets and Thinkers.

My mother’s first marriage went awry, so it took me some years to check out that family bible. I had always known that that grandfather had not come back, dying a few days before the end, making my father a broken child and a broken man, with disastrous results.

For years I tried to hunt down the quoted grave site, but it took ages to work out via the www (finally having arrived), that my father had misquoted the location.

Referring to Kriegsgräberfürsorge (our rather less patriotic and nowadays very low level War Graves Commission) I discovered that only the year before (!) his actual remains had been found and moved to a central graveyard.

No way I could put up a little cross at a remembrance site, we just don’t do it, our places of Remembrance having ever so slowly having morphed into places of forgetting, usually forgetting the places themselves in the process, and otherwise remembering out Guilt Eternal only.

Well, I suppose this autumn I will just do it and rig up a little cross and set it up in front of our local “universal remembrance” cross.

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