Where we are and where we will be

Where we are and where we will be
The idea of Edinburgh is a combination of place, soul and symbolic leadership of a nation

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Preparing a silence to tell a difficult story

Preparing to take a Remembrance Day Service at a church that has no minister at present has proven to be an interesting journey back down my changing view of how these events should be approached.

I started out my ministry taking a very anti war, no militarism line. My services were about peace not war and no words of victory and God on our side ever left my lips.

i still hold to those views but they manifest themselves in very different ways now. These days I focus on the real human stories, not simply those of the service men and women but also those who had to stay behind and wait, never knowing if the knock on the door meant a telegram and or a reunion.

I also take the view now that war is never good, but sometimes, just sometimes, thanks to our human frailties and selfishness, war is all we have left to bring peace. This is not an argument for a "just war" that still remains for me a rationale too close to saying some wars are are good. I don't think that can ever be true, just that sometimes they are simply the last resort. The Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan don't fall into that category but I think now that, given what went before them, WW1 and WW2 were eventually unavoidable and we should mark and continue to mark their ending in a manner that recognises that and the sacrifices that were a consequence.

This idea is, in part at least, captured in this poem

A time for Silence

A time for silence
and a time for noise

A time to remember
and a time to forget

A time to be mournful
and a time to know joy

A time to read
From the war memorial
Names we recognise
sacrifices we can’t imagine

Lives we have heard of
but will never really know

Love we can guess at
but heartbeats we will not hear

Hopes we can speculate
but dreams we’ll never see

in the silence we can hear many things
in the silence we can glimpse another time
when war because what the time demanded
no matter how we wanted another way

and when waiting meant an eternity
waiting for news
waiting for orders
waiting for words
to bring tears of laughter
to bring fear or relief
to bring danger or safety
to bring new times or old worries

In the silence
so much to remember
so much to respect
so much to question
so much to take in
so much to mark
so much it can’t be said
only the silence can speak for us now

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Surgery Times

1st Wed @ Piershill Library, 30 Piershill Terrace.
2nd Wed @ Craigentinny Community Centre, Loaning Rd.
3rd Wed @ Duddingston Primary School, Duddingston Rd.

All 7:15pm -7:45pm

and the last Sat. Lochend YWCA, 198 Restalrig Road South
12noon -1pm

(no appointment needed, all during school terms)
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