Remembrance Day - 12th November 2006
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Click on the images of Maybole's 2006 Remembrance Day observance below to view full size.

On Sunday at Maybole’s Remembrance Day service in the Town Hall Rev Dave Whiteman split his sermon into three broad headings, “What we do before war, during war and after war”. He said, “Today I want to talk about freedom  and peace - two great themes of Remembrance Sunday - and both bought for us at a great price.

One of God’s primary traits is peace. At Christmas we welcome the Prince of Peace. Isaiah said the Messiah would bear these names: Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 ). God longs for all people to live in the freedom that comes with peace.

War graves near Ypres, Belgium. Photo by Karen Barclay.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, encourages all Christians with these words: ‘Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible’ (Romans 12:18 ) People often quote these passages to condemn war. However, when you look at the bible as a whole there are just as many references to war in the bible as there are to peace.


You have heard these  words of King Solomon from Ecclesiastes this morning: ‘There is a time for war and a time for peace’ but when is there a time for war?


1. A time for war is when freedom is to be defended. Throughout the book of Judges, God calls the Israelites to go to war.  Why? Because these nations were trying to conquer Israel. They were called to defend themselves. When you need  to defend yourself it might be necessary to go to war. The birth of our nation involved war. The freedom our ancestors enjoyed couldn't happen without  war.


2. A time for war is to defend innocent people. Solomon gave this advice in Proverbs 21:15. ‘Justice is a joy to the godly, but it causes dismay among evildoers’.Circle the word justice. We are interested in more than peace. We are concerned about justice as well. Peace without justice is appeasement. God is not only a God of peace, he is also the God of justice.


Again, listen to what God said in Micah 6:8. ‘He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you, But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?’


There are times when war must be fought to defend the innocent. Real peace cannot happen without justice. John Stewart Mills said, ‘A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares about more than his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free.’


3. Another time for war is to stop the spread of evil. The spread of evil must be stopped, even at the cost of human lives. If we do not stop the spread of evil, many innocent lives will be lost and the kingdom of God suffers.


You may say, ‘Doesn’t the sixth commandment say, “Thou shalt not kill.”? No. It says “Thou shalt not commit murder.”


There is a difference between killing and murdering. And the law recognises that. If you kill someone in self defence that is not murder,  if you defend someone else and in doing so kill someone that is not murder. Killing in war time is not murder.


No one wants to kill but some times it is necessary. So before war we must work for peace, remembering that war must always be a last resort What about during war? How do we respond during times of war? What do we do?


1. Pray. Paul exhorts us in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 with these words: ‘I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity.’


2. Trust God. Listen to the words of Psalm 27:1, 3. ‘The LORD is my light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid? The LORD protects me from danger, so why should I tremble? Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will know no fear. Even if they attack me, I remain confident.’


3. Seek peace. ‘Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much possible’ (Romans 12:18).


We must do all we can to work for a peaceful solution, even if the solution involves war.


During times of crisis we need to pull together and support one another. Whatever you think of the Iraq war, our military personnel need our support. Their families need our support.


So what about after war?


Freedom is a gift bestowed on mankind by God. God gave each one of us a free will - and the freedom to make our own choices in life.


Many evil regimes over the centuries have attempted to stifle the freedom of their people, and stifle freedom of speech.

Many over the centuries have fought and died for freedom and the freedom we enjoy today was bought for us at a great price. It is indeed a privilege to live in a free country; to walk down the streets in safety, to speak freely, to demonstrate about something. These freedoms are what make our country great, and were bought at a great price.


I am, however, more than a little worried about what’s happening to our freedom in this country.


Many have died during the wars for freedom and especially our freedom of speech and yet we all have to be careful what we say for fear of the politically correct brigade chasing after us.


Political correctness is out of hand in our country.


Don't get me wrong, of course we need laws to prevent the abuse that went on in the past but that's not what I’m talking about here.


I’m talking about the crackpots who brought us Ba Ba green sheep, chalk boards and  festive lights. We are so politically correct in this country we are staring into our own navels and missing what is really going on around us.


Why am I saying this on Remembrance Sunday?


Well, my great grandfather died and my grandfather fought so that I might have freedom of speech and little by little the PC crackpots are taking that away from us = and that should worry us all.


The freedom that makes this country great was bought at a great price; we need to cherish it and hold onto it.


Peace and freedom are worth fighting for. My grandfather and great grandfather were both in the wars. They believed peace and freedom were worth fighting for; so much so that they gave their lives.


Let us enjoy and cherish and hold on to the freedom and peace we enjoy.


To conclude:  Before war ever happens, we must be sure we have exhausted all avenues, war must be a last resort.  

During war we must pray, we must trust God, and support our servicemen and their families  

After war ends we need to cherish and hold on to the liberties we enjoy, and remember freedom was bought at a great price.

That is why we remember.