Memory is one of the primary handles we have to the roots of our faith. All people of faith have immediate experiences of transcendence but even those experiences are built on the foundation of memory. Memory keeps the significance of past events relevant and meaningful for the present. On Remembrance Day the country we live in asks us to remember the sacrifice of soldiers who died and are dying in battle. What does the church ask us to remember? We also remember conscientious objectors to war and we remember Christian peacemakers such as Tom Fox, who died in the line of duty. We remember the ultimate peacemaker, Jesus Christ. The memory of Jesus motivates us to live in the Jesus way.

The most foundational memory for the church is the remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We remember the Christ-event. Our living memory of this event is indeed a subversive act of peacemaking. The passion of Christ upset what is often at the very foundation of human relationships- the myth of redemptive violence. Throughout our culture, from entertainment to government, we are bombarded with words and images that “might makes right.” But in Christ, the threat of death and violence no longer have the ultimate power. Jesus’ death and resurrection destroys the effectiveness of killing and war. Love and Life are the most powerful weapons in the world. They are the weapons of the church. This is how the church works to build a community of peace around the world.

“Armistice Day” was the original name given to a national holiday in 1919 to remember the First World War as the “war to end all wars.” The sad irony is that Jesus already fought the “war to end all wars” two thousand years ago. Armistice Day was when Jesus died. On Remembrance Day we remember the horrors of war and the millions of men and women who have died, but let us also remember the sacrifice of Christ. “Lest we forget…” [and thus repeat the horrors of the wars of history] goes the familiar line. As we remember the peacemaking work of Christ we are grateful and also motivated to participate in the ongoing work of peace in our homes, communities and our world. Jesus showed us that war does not have to be the way to resolve differences or promote human values. Only the way of peace leads to peace.

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