Saturday, November 16, 2013

Musings on Remembrance (Peter A. Black)

My apologies. I’m red-faced, since I overlooked posting as scheduled on Nov 12 – the day after Remembrance Day.  Here is a slightly modified edition of my column article published in  P-Pep! column during the week in The Guide-Advocate – on November 14, 2013.                              

With Remembrance Day now behind us for another year, we look ahead towards other upcoming points on the cultural calendar horizon. Most notable – if not unavoidable, Christmas and New Year. In between times some Canadians of African heritage will celebrate Kwanza, while the Jewish community will observe Hanukkah.
And yet, should we relegate Remembrance to only one day of the year – shrug off the spectre of war, and the broken bodies and minds and the ravaging disease and death that it brings, especially when it’s still happening elsewhere in the world?
The human condition and humanity’s survival require that we move on; therefore, seasons of celebration are needful and appropriate, even when there remains much over which to grieve. Hope is a forward-looking view and emotion. Without the expression of hope, civilization would collapse and fall into an abyss in which evil and darkness and despair reign supreme.
Hence, we honour our war dead and wounded, and our veterans and armed forces personnel, by moving forward in hope, enjoying the freedoms and liberties secured at tremendous cost. However, do we not advance into the future and celebrate freedom best, when we keep in mind the price that was paid and are not indifferent to the plight of others still oppressed?
The Advent season begins several weeks from now, commencing the preparation period in anticipation of celebrating Christmas and the birth of Christ. I mention it now because that observance illustrates my point about hope and moving on, while keeping in mind the historical  past.

Advent culminates in the celebration of Jesus Christ’s coming to earth in humility through His birth at Bethlehem – Divinity enrobed in humanity. That’s celebration of a past event. Yet Advent also looks forward in hope of His coming again in glory, honour and authority. That’s anticipation.
Most branches of the Christian community convene communion services at regular intervals during the course of the year, in which emblems of the Lord Jesus’ body and shed blood are represented in morsels of bread and wine or grape juice. By their partaking of those emblems communicants express their confidence or faith in the Lord Jesus’ sufferings and death as the all-sufficient sacrifice for their sins and failures, the means through which they are reconciled to God.
Like Advent, communion is a celebration of Jesus’ first coming (First Advent) and anticipates His return (Second Advent). When instituting this service (The Last Supper – Jesus’ final meal with His disciples, before His betrayal and crucifixion) He instructed them to “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Later Paul wrote, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). There you have it: celebration in commemoration of a past event, and anticipation of an event yet future.
Meaningful remembrance inspires thoughtful action and an upward path of life. It is why my niece travels to remote communities in developing countries, initiating and monitoring programs for feeding and better farming practices and well-digging.

My late friend, Rev’d Fr. Saldanha, remembered the poor and orphaned in his native India, and inspired others to accompany him on trips back home, bearing help and hope for a better future in Jesus’ name. It is why my pastor-missionary colleagues Ken and his wife Marge return to encourage their beloved friends in Africa. They remember the price Jesus paid and move forward in hope.
May meaningful remembrance inspire us also.


Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children's / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing). (Finalist -- Word Alive Press ISBN 1897373-21-X)

His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate. His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. Peter’s current book project comprises a collection of 52 column articles.


No comments:

Popular Posts