Remembrance Sunday 2021
14 November 2021
Today’s service begins outside the church, at the War Memorial, at 10.55am.
Today’s readings: Hebrews 10:11-14,18; Mark 13:24-32.

Let us pray.
Almighty Father,
whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the king of all:
govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,
and bring the families of the nations,
divided and torn by the ravages of sin,
to be subject to his just and gentle rule;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.


A Reflection from Anita Compton

‘To our wounds, only God’s wounds can speak’

This line from a poem ‘Jesus of the Scars’ written by Edward Shillito (1919), a British Chaplain deeply affected by the horrors and carnage experienced by his men in WW1. He remembers that ours is a wounded God who dies for humanity and bears the scars of love. Of all the gods in the world Jesus alone has wounds.  

On this Remembrance Sunday we do not to forget the countless lives that were cut short by two world wars and in recent conflicts. We remember those who died, the wounded and families who lost loved ones. We remember the tragic loss of human life, the hopes and dreams dashed and smashed in the anguish of war. We stand in awe at the courage, duty and the ultimate sacrifice of those, who left, giving and losing their lives, never to return.

You will have your own memories and stories of the people you loved, lost and were affected by war.

We also remember mothers, war widows and the women who have recently found their voices to tell their stories of love, loss, grief and hope. Women who found it hard to come to terms with the death of their partners, in the absence of a body, and those who brought the names of their loved ones to the attention of the authorities when they found they had not been recognised, named or acknowledged anywhere. Their stories do not fit well with hero narratives and how people have been treated and forgotten after loss. At the Queens House in Greenwich there is a quilt of stitched remembrance made by the war widows and those who have cared for husbands for decades, from the injuries sustained through war. Often, they faced poverty as their war widow pensions were small, taxed and removed if they married again. Yet these women remain the widows of the men they loved and lost despite some marrying again and their sacrifice is often invisible in remembrance.

We remember too people who still carry wounds and scars physically and emotionally and the many refugees displaced by conflict.

Ours is a wounded God who dies for humanity and bears the scars of love. Our great High Priest that our first reading from Hebrews speaks of, shed his own blood to enter into heaven, not the blood of animals that can never take sin away. The High Priests who stand daily to offer sacrifices are contrasted with Jesus who sits at the right hand of the Father.  He has no need to stand, his work is completed. He has offered the perfect sacrifice, his own body and blood, once and for all and ushers in a new covenant of grace. He sits enthroned, waiting for his harvest so the full effects of his victory will be gathered from all the corners of the earth, when He comes again with his angels in glory.

What comfort Jesus of the Scars gives us in our broken unsettled and hurting world.  He is the balm that is ever present he suffers with us leading us to a new kingdom of peace that he promises, despite the tribulations at the end of the age. We know that his wounds give us hope that evil, suffering and pain are not final.  They are overcome in triumph at the end of the age when He will come again and every eye will see him.  Even in our darkest hour, He does not abandon us. We need to be awake in him staying close and live every day as if he is coming back. God’s power is the power of love in the Risen Christ and all it embraces. Peace and non- violence as a distinctive part of God’s Kingdom.  We are invited and encouraged to be awake, be present, to Christ every day. The time of his return is a mystery only the Father knows.  If we can do this, it won’t matter when or if Christ comes again in our lifetime because we will be united with the Christ within us already.

After many tribulations. He will guide and lead us to His father’s house where He is seated at God’s right hand, our great High priest who gave his life so we might have peace eternally.  

Organ Voluntary

Imperial March – Edward Elgar:
Watch here

Today’s hymn

I vow to thee my country:
Watch here

Music from Matthew

We begin today’s service in the churchyard with the annual act of remembrance. Giles Taylor will sound the Last Post and after two minutes’ silence we’ll sing the Russian Contakion. A traditional Orthodox hymn, it is sung here by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge in the original Church Slavonic. It is bookended by recordings from the Kiev Pechersk Monastery, of the bells ringing and the monks singing.
Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant with thy saints, where sorrow and pain are no more; neither sighing, but life everlasting. Thou only art immortal, the Creator and Maker of man; and we are mortal, formed of the earth, and unto earth shall we return; for so thou didst ordain when thou createdst me, saying: ‘Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.’ All we go down to the dust,
and, weeping o'er the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Shroud of Christ Interment Chimes
Bell ringers of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Monastery
Russian Kontakion of the Departed
The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge
Timothy Brown (director)
Blessed is the man (authentic Kiev chant)
Monks' Choir of Kiev Pechersk Monastery
At the offertory, Sophie will sing an arrangement of Tallis’s five-part anthem ‘If ye love me’, written in 1565, words from the Gospel for Whit Sunday, according to the Book of Common Prayer (1549).
If ye love me by Thomas Tallis (1505-85)
If ye love me keep my commandments and I will pray the Father and He shall give you another comforter that He may ’bide with you forever, e’en the spirit of truth. (John 14: 15-17)
The King’s Singers (recorded in isolation during lockdown)
At communion, as we didn’t have a sung requiem to commemorate All Souls this year, a chance to hear the ‘Pie Jesu’ movement from the Fauré Requiem. Here is a beautiful new choral arrangement by Barnaby Smith for VOCES8.
‘Pie Jesu’ from the Requiem Mass by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Merciful Lord Jesus, give them rest. Give them everlasting rest.

Material additional to today’s Reflection:

Jesus of the Scars
If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow,
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.  

The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars, we claim Thy grace.

If, when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know to-day what wounds are, have no fear,
Show us Thy Scars, we know the countersign.

The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.

Edward Shillito (1919)

Stories from war-widows:

Artisan Fair

Marion would still appreciate some volunteers to help.  Please speak to her.

Advent Reading

This year’s Advent Book will be ‘Music of Eternity – Meditations for Advent with Evelyn Underhill.’
Please speak to Barbara Ross if you would like her to get you a copy.

Come to the Well

The next meeting will be on Friday 26th November beginning with coffee at 10am and followed by lunch.

Highgate International Chamber Music Festival

We are delighted to see the return of the Highgate International Chamber Music Festival to St. Anne’s.  The Festival began here so it’s a pleasure to see its ‘post-pandemic’ renaissance begin here!
Check out their website for concert details and booking:

Study morning on the Gospel of Luke

Barbara will lead a study morning on Saturday 11th December, 10.30am – 12 noon, at St. Anne’s, looking at the themes and ideas in Luke’s Gospel to help you understand it better as we hear it read through the coming year.

Fr. Simon’s Reflection on COP26 from last Sunday

So the COP 26 conference has gone into extra time with a third draft agreement on the table and much hope that it will pass. “It is not a secret that COP26 is a failure. It should be obvious that we cannot solve a crisis with the same methods that got us into it in the first place.” The words of climate active Greta Thunberg last week. The Swedish teenager was in Glasgow and condemned the conference. “We need immediate drastic annual emission cuts unlike anything the world has ever seen. All this while the world is literally burning, on fire, and while the people living on the front lines are still bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.” No matter what we might think of her prognosis or methods, or whether she has been going to school enough, she’s a prophetic voice. Prophets are rarely welcome and the Old Testament ones in particular are probably not our first choice to be locked in a church with. Imagine having to contend with the harangues of Jeremiah or Amos. They had urgency and passion, and Greta displays this too. She walked out of a panel discussion with former Bank of England governor and UN climate envoy, Mark Carney, shouting “this is greenwashing” and left early.
It feels like Advent has come early, if we see these things as related and read the world in a theological way. Repent, the time is at hand, return to the Lord. This is the message we’ll hear a lot in just a few weeks. But it’s too important to wait for then. In fact, I can remember being taught in school during the 1980s about the perils of deforestation and greenhouse gases – but only now are governments setting targets and making commitments. It seems incredible. In the Church of England we are sadly behind the curve on this. Archbishop Justin Welby addressed City leaders at a Lambeth Palace dinner the other week about the need to align “morality and expediency… How do we get people to make harder choices that focus not just on financial return, but build relationships, build good will, and generate mutually beneficial results for people and the planet?”— how indeed.
Pope Francis has been a passionate advocate for creation and ecology. His 2015 encyclical Laudato si’ was subtitled ‘on care for our common home’ took its title from the hymn of St Francis praising God for his creation (‘Let all things their Creator bless’) and it was commented at the beginning of COP26 how of all religious leaders in Glasgow, his absence was the most poignant. But he did record a BBC Thought for the Day which concluded powerfully. “Humanity has never before had at its disposal so many means for achieving this goal [of] effective responses to the present ecological crisis… to offer concrete hope to future generations. And it is worth repeating that each of us – whoever and wherever we may be – can play our own part in changing our collective response to the unprecedented threat of climate change and the degradation of our common home.”
The Holy Father is not alone as Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the Orthodox has also spoken and written widely about “the biological diversity of God’s creation” and environmentalism. “For human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins… to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God.” He said that in California back in 1997 and has been a driving force for ‘environmental theology’ for years, including his own most recent encyclicals.
This can all seem a bit overwhelming, a bit too much. It’s an insurmountable task on our own, or even as small church community, because it’s obvious that what the government is going isn’t enough either. And yet whenever we think of God’s mercy and turning towards God and all that rejoicing over just one repentant sinner, we start to see some hope and inspiration. Our readings over the last couple of months have been very much about what we have and what we do with it. Camels and the eye of the needle, two barns, two coats, and being close to the Kingdom of God. The so-called Widow’s Mite reading (Mark 12.38-44) is similar: the poor woman who deposits two small copper coins in the treasury which are ‘worth a penny’ and how Jesus says she has put in more than all the others combined, because it was ‘everything she had, all she had to live on’.
The smallest of actions can make the greatest difference, in our own lives and to those around us.
Dr Ruth Valerio is probably the best voice we have in the Church of England on environmental matters. The author of numerous books, she is global advocacy and influencing director at Tearfund, an environmentalist, theologian, and social activist ( Interviewed recently for the Church Times she said: “Most of the time there will be incremental changes that we can make in our daily lives, and those things all add up. But every once in a while there are bigger decisions to be made, where we have the opportunity to make a real impact with one important choice — whether that’s a new piece of technology, this year’s summer holiday, or buying a new car or home.
If we take time to think carefully, and weigh up the different factors in these more significant moments, we can make as much difference with one choice as many other small ones put together.”
There’s a challenge in all this. From the prophetic urgency of Greta, to the gentle illustration of Jesus and the noble example of Ruth Valerio. How and where is your life oriented? What do you understand about your resources and what you do with them? We can be generous because God is generous, but we must also be good stewards of his creation. A world which turns its back on God finds to its peril that time just might be running out, and action is needed now. Out of our poverty, let us hope the COP 26 delegates also put in ‘everything we have, all we have to live on’.

‘Slow TV’ – Stuffed Baked Potato

I didn’t choose this video for the recipe which is very simple.  All of the ingredients are easily available here and, if you like a baked potato for supper, you can easily copy the recipe.
I chose it for the gentle pace of the video showing a typical mountain small-holding in the gentle autumn rain, the farm animals and the apple trees. Although this video is from Azerbaijan, many people in Turkey, and across the caucuses, still live like this, surviving on what they can grow and on their few animals.
This family has produced a lot of videos, all in a similar soothing atmosphere.  If, like me, you find yourself watching many more of them you will not only see more recipes but also some of the many interesting herbs, flowers and leaves which they use to make tea!
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