Shipley Church Self-Service
Remembrance Sunday, 8th November 2020
Thought for the Week – Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
The 20th century – probably the most violent in the history of man – gave rise to two world wars and a host of other conflicts that disgraced our claim to have reached a level of civilisation and enlightenment never achieved before. How should we atone for such a calamity? Perhaps we shall never fully understand what it means to be human, or how the undaunted spirit finds ways of overcoming unutterable darkness. But eventually it does, and with the passage of time, historical events – however tumultuous – become ordered in the overall perspective of the momentous affairs of mankind. Nobody living today can actually recall their experiences of the Great War, yet our culture demands that we reflect upon it, and upon other wars, and never forget the sacrifices made for our “today” and our freedom.
One of English composer John Ireland’s (1879-1962) best known compositions is the beautiful choral motet “Greater love hath no man”. It commemorates the victims of war and is regarded as one of his masterpieces. Its significance is all the more poignant today, as Ireland’s grave resides in the churchyard just outside the church’s south door, here in Shipley. (John 15:13)
Hymn for today
I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
Prayer for Today
May the memory of past wars strengthen our efforts for peace and reconciliation; may the memory of those who died inspire our service for the living; we pray for new hope and a new faith that Peace can reach out and embrace the world.
Note: The Gospel and Readings for today can be downloaded from the top right of this page.