What do you do with your poppy after Remembrance Day? Do you throw it away? Or keep it for next year? Perhaps you have a very particular place for it? It’s something we don’t usually think about.
So I want to ask a question – what will we do with our ‘remembering’ after Remembrance Day? Today there are many acts of remembrance, and on Sunday, there will be more. What happens on Monday, and the next day and the next? Will we put our remembering away until next year?
For some of us here that isn’t what will happen because, for some of us, the remembering is more personal because with it is to do with remembering our family and friends who have died.
How we remember and what we do with our remembering, matters. What we do on Monday matters because if we just put our remembering, along with our poppies to one side, then we have not remembered rightly this weekend. Remembering rightly is about how we live in the light of those facts. Especially today, as a community and as a nation.
In the Old Testament, the people of God, the Israelites, were forever being called by God to remember – to remember who they were, where they had come from – and it was usually at times in their life when things were going wrong. That call to remember wasn’t just about reminding themselves how they had got into their current situation, it was also a promise of a future that would be different.
God’s ultimate promise for us is that He will dwell with us, there will be no more mourning, no more crying, no more pain – we will get out of our cycles of violence and war because all of that has been gathering up in Christ who has shown us a different way. That future starts with us, now, because there is no going back, only moving forward. Taking our remembering and our honouring with us, and living in the light of it, not putting it to one side.
So how will we remember honourably? In the light of our remembering today and on Sunday, how will we choose to live on Monday and every day after that? Perhaps you will put your poppy in a particular place from where it’ll continue to nudge you in your remembering. Let it also be a symbol of the vision God calls us to take up in our future – individually, as a community, as a nation – that, by our living, We Will Remember Them.
Written by Chelsea Flood of Ampfield School for their Service of Remembrance.