They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks – Micah 4, verse 5. Here is a powerful image indeed. It’s an image of peace – yes, of course it is. But, far more than that, I believe it is an image of transformation, an image of possibility.
Today, rightly, we are focussed on remembering. As we do each year, on Remembrance Day (11th Nov.) we reflect on the sacrifice of those who gave everything in trying to maintain the values and freedoms of our society. The two world wars of the twentieth century are a key focus, but we also think of those who have been killed and injured in many more recent conflicts.
Remembering is both important and valuable. It is part of what makes us human. Time and time again in the Bible, the people are encouraged to remember. They are to remember the role and the contribution of Abraham. The rainbow serves as a reminder of the covenant between God and the people. They often look back to the memory of David, the great king. And, of course, when we come to the New Testament, and to Communion, ‘this do in remembrance of me’.
Remembering does all sorts of things. It challenges us. It inspires us. It encourages us. It links us to the past. It gives us signposts as to how to live. It points us to the example of those who have gone before. It provokes a great sense of thankfulness for those who have done all the things that make the society in which we live what it is today. In saying that, I know, of course, that there is a lot that is wrong with society, as it is today – but that doesn’t alter the fact of the great giving of so many to build a better world.
May our remembering inspire us to play our part in bringing about that better world!