We were on our way to church this morning when, out of the blue, my husband announced that he was heading off to the Roman Catholic Church across the river. He had realised that not only was it Remembrance Sunday, it was also 11th November. Our church tends not to mark dates with particular ceremonies. If it hadn’t been 11th specifically, I suppose my husband might have been content to disappear for a few minutes to observe the two minute silence. So we parted company at the corner of the street – him to head down to the river, me to head down the alley to our usual fellowship.
I can remember one year, Joe and I were on our way to Aberdeen. We were following a programme of fertility treatment with tests and stuff. Aberdeen was the nearest fertility treatment centre and it was a case of dropping everything we were doing and heading off if we got a blue line on a testing kit. One of these trips happened on the 11th November we pulled into a lay-by along the route to observe the two minute silence.
Another year, I think it was a fifth year class, asked if they might observe the two minute silence. They had never been known to remain silent for that long, but seeing as they asked, I agreed, drumming it into their heads that they were not to giggle. They were wonderful, but surprisingly enough, there were a number of pupils who had no idea why they were doing it.
One of the best two minute silences, that wasn’t connected to Remembrance Sunday, but the death of Celtic hero Jimmy Johnston, wasn’t a silence at all. It was a two minute cheer and clap! I really thought that was such a wonderful way of remembering someone’s life. I think part of the reasoning was that the opposition fans might not want to observe a silence.
I was thinking about the two minute silence. It is about remembering the sacrifices made by men and women to make the world a safer place. They fought the battles so that I wouldn’t have to.
People argue about the morality of war. Last week, in a discussion about capital punishment, a friend was asked about whether he agreed with the taking of a life. He said that sometimes you have to like in a war time situation. It is not ideal. It is not what anyone wants to do, but sometimes it is unavoidable.
I was thinking about the biggest battle – the one Jesus fought on the cross. He fought the battle against sin and death, and won the victory, so that I would not need to fight that battle myself. I live in the good of his victory. His death and resurrection have secured a relationship with God that I could not otherwise have. He had released into my life the power of the Holy Spirit.
There is nothing wrong with a noisy, praise filled response – the cheering and the clapping – but silence is not to be ignored either!