Thought for the Month (November 2007)

Dear friends,

As autumn rolls on, and the leaves fall ever more quickly from the trees, our thoughts during November turn to remembering events of days gone by.

On Remembrance Day the nation stands still for a moment and remembers its fallen - those who have given their lives in the service of their country. There are still many who remember their homes and livelihoods being destroyed, many who still bear the scars, both mental and physical.

These days when materialism seems to be the new religion, people talk about sacrifice in terms of what money or goods they may have to forego, but to those whose loved ones never came back home, the sacrifice was total and is real still today.

This year I shall be taking part in the Remembrance Day service at the War Memorial in Tunbridge Wells. It will be a particularly poignant time for me, for my old Dad will be no longer on parade as he has been for so many years, standing by a memorial that bears my maternal grandfather's name he was a Baptist preacher, who preached at Hawkenbury, who never made thirty years of age, never came home, never saw his unborn daughter my Mother.

For many Christian men and women it has never been easy to just take up arms and fight. It seems to run against so much of the gospel. However, seeing as they did the great and awful manifestation of evil coming against our country, they decided it had to be stopped at all costs.

The country in which I and my family have grown up in post-war times owes much to those ordinary men and women who gave their all, and followed the gospel precept "No greater love has any man, than he lays down his life for his friends." John 15.13.

Jesus not only talked the talk, but walked the walk all the way to the cross on Calvary. He did this freely for us to win for us the victory over sin and death.

This ability to be able to proclaim this gospel of Christ is only possible because of the freedoms won and kept for us by previous generations. In many parts of the world today the Church is under attack, Christians are imprisoned and persecuted.

How should we view all this? Well, we are called as disciples to proclaim the Kingdom values in our daily lives wherever we are. We should view any assault on any part of Christ's church as an assault on us.

Many things conspire to make the world a dangerous place today. Climates are changing fast, fuel supplies are limited and we are faced with increasing Islamic militancy and the growth of hostile states. Within our own society, we are often appalled by the behaviour of some, whose sole aim is hedonism.

But be of good cheer, for in all we do for Him, Christ is supreme and we will win the victory over the world by means of our faith in Jesus. 1 John 5.4/5. Therefore remember with thanksgiving those who have gone on before, and look forward in faith to the final victory.

God bless,

Pastor Richard C. Blackwell.

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church