Remembrance Sunday – 13 November 2022

Here is my service for tomorrow.

You can join in with the worship either by coming to the church or by following this link

Please be there by 10.50 so we can be ready to join in wotht the Minute’s silence at 11.00


Call to Worship

In a world filled with violence and war,

we gather together to celebrate the promise of peace.

In a world filled with tyranny and oppression,

we gather together to celebrate the promise of justice for all.

In a world filled with hunger and greed,

we gather together to celebrate the promise of plenty for all.

Our hope is in the name of the Almighty God,

the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of heaven and earth.

The silence from the Cenotaph

I’m going to read a list of people from this church that died in the First and Second World Wars. I think it’s a good way of reminding us that remembering the fallen isn’t an abstract thing but that every one of them was an individual person.

As I read can I ask you to come up and light a candle for each name I read. There are 35 in all

Our first hymn this morning is O Valiant Hearts

O valiant hearts who to your glory came
through dust of conflict and through battle flame;
tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved
your memory hallowed in the land you loved…

Proudly you gathered, rank on rank, to war

as who had heard God’s message from afar;

all you had hoped for, all you had, you gave,

to save mankind – yourselves you scorned to save.

Splendid you passed, the great surrender made;
into the light that nevermore shall fade;
deep your contentment in that blest abode,
who wait the last clear trumpet call of God.

O risen Lord, O Shepherd of our dead
Whose cross has bought them and whose staff has led,
in glorious hope their proud and sorrowing land
commits her children to Thy gracious hand.


Gracious God, remember your holy promise, and look with love on all your people, living and departed.

On this day we especially ask that you would hold forever all who have suffered during war, those who returned scarred by warfare, those who waited anxiously at home, and those who returned wounded, and disillusioned; those who mourned, and those communities that were diminished and suffered loss.

Remember too those who acted with kindly compassion, those who bravely risked their own lives for their comrades, and those who in the aftermath of war, worked tirelessly for a more peaceful world.

And as you remember them, remember us, O Lord; grant us peace in our time and a longing for the day when people of every language, race, and nation will be brought into the unity of Christ’s kingdom.

This we ask in the name of the same Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Lord’s Prayer

Let’s have our Bible reading now

Exodus 20:13

Thou shalt not kill


That’s it. Probably the shortest Bible reading that’s ever been used in our church.

Before we move on though I’d like someone else to read Exodus Chapter 20 verse 13 from the pew Bible.

 ‘Do not commit murder’

Is that the same as the passage we heard being read a few minutes ago? What’s the difference?

As I’ve mentioned before the issue arises from the fact that the Bible wasn’t written in English in the first place.

We know that the New Testament was written in Greek, but the Old Testament was in another language. It’s also known as the Hebrew Bible which gives us a clue.

Here’ the original Hebrew for the word that’s translated as you shall not kill or murder

לא תרצח  

It’s pronounced lo tirtsah.

It’s generally recognised that ‘you shall not murder’ is a better translation and the more modern translations into English all tend to use that form of words. But I bet nearly all of us if we were asked to say what the sixth commandment is would use the old ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ It’s been with us for over 400 years so we’ve got used to it.

But does it matter? We’ll see.

There are certainly a lot of Christians who are totally against war. Who won’t fight in any circumstances.

I’ve been looking at the Quakers website. There’s some really good information there looking at the issue of war and killing. It puts all sides of the argument very fairly and leaves you to make up your own mind.

It talks about the so-called Doctrine of Just War. This is what it says

The arguments that set out the conditions

under which a war might be justified are known

as ‘just war theory’. They were developed over

the centuries, beginning with the Christian

philosophers Augustine of Hippo and Thomas

Aquinas, to define when it’s right to go to war

and the fairest ways to conduct war. In more

detail, just war theory says that a war is justified:

● if the violence is a last resort and every way

of resolving the problem by peaceful means

has failed

● if it prevents greater violence or a greater


● if it is proportionate and no unnecessary

violence is used

● if the methods of warfare used are

themselves ‘reasonable’ and in accordance

with the ‘rules of war’.

Of course, the decision about whether any particular war is ‘just’ depends on the situation.

So even people who believe that war can sometimes be justified might disagree about a particular war or about whether the balance of the argument lies in favour or against.

In 2022 issues of war have become perhaps more important than at any time since the end of WW2. We all know that in February Russia invaded Ukraine. I think if you look at this list of 4 requirements for a just war then it’s clear that from a Russian perspective it fails on all 4 counts. This hasn’t stopped the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow from support President Putin in his war!

Looked at from the perspective of Ukraine however, having been invaded is it just for them to fight back? Well I think there’s a strong argument for saying yes. Whether you can honestly say that no unnecessary violence has been used by Ukraine – I’m not sure.

But we are left with the fundamental question about what the sixth commandment means. If you kill someone in a just war – are you breaking the commandment?

Well if it does mean do not kill then it’s fairly obvious the answer is yes – you are.

But if it means do not murder – then perhaps killing someone in a just war, even if it’s deliberate, isn’t murder and the commandment hasn’t been broken.

And then of course we have what Jesus had to say – here are a couple of apposite passages from Matthew chapter 5:

“Happy are those who work for peace – God will call them his children!


 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’But now I tell you: do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too.

What do you think? Go away and mull over what I’ve said today. It’s not easy is it?

But on one thing I’m absolutely sure – if the kingdom of God ever does come to the Earth  then as Isaiah said:

[God] will settle disputes among great nations.
They will hammer their swords into plows
    and their spears into pruning knives.
Nations will never again go to war,
    never prepare for battle again.

And to close here’s another quote from the Quakers

“Peace is a process to engage in, not a goal to be reached”

I make no apologies for playing this next song even though I’ve used it in Remembrance Day services before. I think it’s the greatest anti-war song ever written. It’s by a chap called Eric Bogle – a Scotsman who now lives in Australia and it’s about the Gallipoli campaign in the First World War.  We’ll hear Eric Bogle himself sing it. It’s quite long. Listen to the words. It might make you cry.

It’s particularly poignant for me today as my brother is over from Australia where he now lives.

Now when I was a young man, I carried me pack,
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murray’s green basin to the dusty outback,
Well, I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915, my country said “Son,
It’s time you stopped rambling, there’s work to be done”.
So they gave me a tin hat, and they gave me a gun,
And they marched me away to the war.

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As the ship pulled away from the quay
And amidst all the cheers, the flag-waving and tears,
We sailed off for Gallipoli.

And how well I remember that terrible day,
How our blood stained the sand and the water
And of how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay,
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk he was waiting, he’d primed himself well
He showered us with bullets and he rained us with shell
And in five minutes flat, he’d blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia.

But the band played Waltzing Matilda,
When we stopped to bury our slain.
We buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs
Then we started all over again.

And those that were left, well we tried to survive,
In that mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks, I kept myself alive
Though around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head
And when I woke up in me hospital bed,
And saw what it had done, well I wished I was dead
Never knew there was worse things than dying.

For I’ll go no more waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and free
To hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me.

So they gathered the crippled, the wounded, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The legless, the armless, the blind, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay,
I looked at the place where me legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve, to mourn, and to pity.

But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then they turned all their faces away.

And so now every April, I sit on me porch,
And I watch the parade pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reviving old dreams of past glories
And the old men march slowly, old bones stiff and sore
They’re tired old heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask “What are they marching for?”
And I ask meself the same question.

But the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear
Someday no one will march there at all.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda, who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by that billabong
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me

Time for Prayer

Where swords are turned to ploughshares

and spears to pruning hooks

where the guns fall silent

and the rumours of war cease

We see the love of God

written on the hearts of men and women

And offer our thanksgiving to God

Where man says’ I am my brother’s keeper’

and the guardian of his days

Where mothers’ sons grow old

in lands free from strife

We see the love of God

written on the hearts of men and women

And offer our thanksgiving to God

Where enemies destroy the barriers that divide

and no man’s land becomes home to each and all

Where colour, creed and nation

unite not stand apart

We see the love of God

written on the hearts of men and women

And offer our thanksgiving to God.

Where silent remembering inspires songs of freedom, justice, truth

and the sacrifice of old shapes the passion for our future

Where those who gave their lives and youth

let us age in years and wisdom

We see the love of God

written on the hearts of men and women

And offer our thanksgiving to God.

Where courage never fades in the battle for the right

and power is given to the weak, the least, the last

Where compassion finds a home

to root out fear, mistrust or pride

We see the love of God

written on the hearts of men and women

And offer our thanksgiving to God.

For the love of Father, Son and Spirit

is the source of human love

the fire of God within us

shedding light upon our path

write this love upon our hearts God

as we offer you our thanks

through Jesus Christ our saviour

who offers life to us.  Amen  

Our final hymn today is For the Healing of the Nations by Fred Kaan.

For the healing of the nations,

       Lord, we pray with one accord;

for a just and equal sharing

       of the things that earth affords.

To a life of love in action

       help us rise and pledge our word.

Lead us forward into freedom,

       from despair your world release,

that, redeemed from war and hatred,

       all may come and go in peace.

Show us how, through care and goodness,

       fear will die and hope increase.

All that kills abundant living,

       let it from the earth be banned:

pride of status, race or schooling,

       dogmas that obscure your plan.

In our common quest for justice

       may we hallow life’s brief span.

You, Creator-God, have written

       your great name on humankind;

for our growing in your likeness,

       bring the life of Christ to mind;

that by our response and service

       earth its destiny may find.

Finally we will close by saying the grace:

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

and the love of God

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

be with us all


The Accrington Pals Mike Harding


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.