Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | October 29, 2017

The Strong Word – November 2017

 

Jane and I took the chance a few weeks ago to visit the National Memorial Arboretum near Litchfield. We visited most of the 193 memorials, some quite incredible to experience. We cheated a bit as initially we travelled around on the Land Train with a running commentary. We returned later on foot to the ones where we wanted to spend more time. It is all set in extensive well kept grounds around a visitors’ centre, with memorials to the many fallen in the battles of the last Century.

I suppose the biggest surprise to me was the centre piece of a huge circular wall on which are the names of all members of the armed forces killed SINCE 1945, an incredible number. The names stretch for well over 100 yards and are chiselled out in lists some 12 feet high. There remains blank fresh stone for over 75 yards for future deaths. It is so sad to see such plans, to recognise we expect further wars and battles despite the promises we make to each other on 11th November each year, that never again will we allow war to rage.

I was taken by the unexpected memorials, to the Veterinary Surgeons who cared for the sick and injured horses, and other animals of both the great wars of the last century, then lost their lives or were injured in their work. There were memorials to Railway workers, Townswomen Guilds and even the Girl Guides who gave sacrificially to support the troops of the wars, support which sometimes caused injury or even death.

It was truly amazing and sobering. We left surprised that so much has been achieved in 15 years and there remains plans still to add to the memorials, maybe up to 250 within the next few years as more groups come forward with plans to remember.

I was especially surprised to see a memorial to the National Order of Friendly Societies! But there we go, dedicated to the Society of Friendly Foresters, the Oddfellows and Free Gardeners, to name a few societies mentioned.

On 1st November we celebrate All Saints Day, when no special saint, but all Christian Saints are remembered. Maybe we read Hebrews 11 where a selection of people of great faith are celebrated, and maybe we recall those we know in our past who are no longer with us but who to us or to our town were great saints?

Maybe we recognise too that we are all called to play our part in support of the work of the Gospel, whoever we are, to give ourselves to support the work of the church in the 21st Century and thus to have our name written in the book of life, kept in heaven, to record our faithfulness to and trust in Jesus Christ our Lord.

May the commitment and faithfulness of others encourage us to all to be 100% dedicated to The Lord’s work in these days, whatever the cost. May the Lord help us to be faithful.

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