What about the other side?

I once had a church member who had been born in Germany just before the Second World War broke out. Most of her family members had been killed by the Royal Air Force in the fire bombing of Dresden.

I once knew an Arctic bush pilot who had flown for the Luftwaffe in World War Two. He was not a Nazi; he had been caught up in that massive event like millions of other people.

thI’m sometimes asked why I’m not happy about national flags and Remembrance Day activities happening in churches. This is one of my answers.

Remembrance Day was originally about the prayer ‘Never again’. At its best, it’s a remembrance of all who lost their lives in wars – soldiers or civilians, ‘our’ side and ‘theirs’.

Sadly, though, these days it’s often about honouring the sacrifice ‘our’ troops paid for ‘our’ freedom.

My question is, what if you’re not included in that ‘our’?

After all, the Church isn’t meant to be a national institution. Jesus calls his disciples from all nations, tribes, languages and peoples. When I look around St. Margaret’s on Sunday, that’s a reality.

As a Christian, my first loyalty can never be to my nation. My first loyalty must be to Christ and his multi-national kingdom.

Remember this Sunday: you may well have someone in your church whose parents fought on the other side. That person may be intimately connected to you as a fellow Christian.

How are you going to make Remembrance Day about them and their forebears just as much as it is about you and yours?

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One thought on “What about the other side?

  1. Erp

    And for some people family members were on both sides. I’m mostly British but my great aunt’s husband’s brother was Hungarian and killed within a week of reaching the front in 1915. He had been to Cambridge and his name is on the wall at King’s College Chapel but separate from the others from the college who were also killed (and it was a hard fight by his surviving friends to even get that). The sheer waste of war.

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