Week beginning: 31st July, 2016
By Peter Brown | Ballymoney
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
"…the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, 'This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'"John 15:12-13 (ESV), 1 Corinthians 11:23b-24 (ESV)
Ireland is approaching the midway point of its "Decade of Centenaries". This period 2012 – 2022 marks the one hundredth anniversary of a time which saw numerous historic events for the people of both parts of Ireland taking place at home and elsewhere. Their ripples can still be felt today, sometimes in subtle ways - my own firm would undoubtedly have been a very different place in 2016 had the heir apparent, then a 31 year old apprentice solicitor, not succumbed to the wounds he suffered at the Battle of the Somme almost exactly 100 years ago.
His gravestone (* see link below) like many others is inscribed with a biblical reference and there have been many religious services in recent weeks, especially here in Northern Ireland, to remember the sacrifice of the 3500 soldiers from the island of Ireland who were killed between July and November 1916.
The bible talks about remembering numerous times and arguably the most referred to is the Last Supper where Jesus reminded his followers to continue to do this in remembrance of Him. What we should be remembering is that Jesus was the ultimate demonstration of sacrificial love, through which we have peace with the Father. Those brave young men who never returned from the First World War, whose gravestones so often quote Jesus speaking about His own death, are a reminder of that greatest love: laying down one's life for one's friends.
Next time we all partake in the Lord's table we should not forget that every Sunday is Remembrance Sunday.
1. Give thanks and praise this morning as you remember the wonderful gift of life we have through the sacrificial death and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord who gave everything he had to reconcile us to the Father.
2. Give thanks for all those who have given their lives for our freedom.
Pray for those who today suffer for their faith in Christ – even to the point of death - as they witness to his saving grace and offer true hope in Him.