Remembering is one of the keys to healthy human functioning. It is also the key to our identity. Who and what we will be is not in our hands. Who we have been is a definition of our identity. Our identity is in part a measure of our choices, but also how we have interpreted those choices and circumstances. If we have been hurt or burned, we may choose to protect ourselves, consciously or unconsciously, from that happening again. And if this is normal human functioning, what happens when you put World War into the mix.
My father was in WWII on the sea and my grandfather, his father, in WWI, was in the trenches. Remembering the centenary of an event, i.e. 100 years since the Armistice was signed to end WWI, is a collective milestone that we will celebrate on Sunday, November 11. But many of us remember those who were willing to serve their country and their God, with the ultimate sacrifice in mind. No greater love has anyone than this, to lay down his life for others. Jesus taught his followers this truth, in reference to his own forthcoming sacrifice.
We must remember Jesus’ sacrifice first and foremost. What he did for us, we could not do for ourselves. But we also remember the sacrifices of parents and grandparents, and the world in which they lived. Remembering them is a part of remembering our own identity.
Remembering the devastation of the wars helps us treasure the peace. Millions of lives lost. Generations and whole towns and cities lost.
Yet as we remember, we remember again the value of human life, and the One who created us. The poppies we wear do not glorify war nor proclaim that military solutions are the best. They help us remember our losses, grieve them anew, and cause us to work all the more for peace.
Ultimately, we turn to Jesus, the Prince of Peace. In Him, we find the peace that passes understanding. We guide others to Him. We remember Him. We gauge our identity by His.
This November, let us remember.