November 11 – Remembrance Day

Psalm 78   (NLT)

A psalm of Asaph.

O my people, listen to my instructions.
    Open your ears to what I am saying,
    for I will speak to you in a parable.
I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—
    stories we have heard and known,
    stories our ancestors handed down to us.
We will not hide these truths from our children;
    we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
    about his power and his mighty wonders.
For he issued his laws to Jacob;
    he gave his instructions to Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
    to teach them to their children,
so the next generation might know them—
    even the children not yet born—
    and they in turn will teach their own children.
So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
    not forgetting his glorious miracles
    and obeying his commands.

This psalm is actually 72 verses long. It records the history of Israel from its beginning up to David’s reign, and outlines everything God has done for them and how they ignored God and messed things up. Humanity does tend to do that – ignore history and repeat mistakes. The psalmist is reminding them how important it is to remember to avoid that repetition.

Today is Remembrance Day, the time we remember all the soldiers and people who served us in past wars, people who kept our country and democracy alive and well. I love the picture of my parents on their wedding day, my dad dressed in his WWII army uniform. His beat-up army trunk filled with mementoes from his army days lays on its side in my daughter’s living room as a coffee table. Looking at that picture and trunk is a reminder.

We lower our flags on Remembrance Day as a sign that we honour those people and that we won’t forget their sacrifice. We especially need to remember as tensions rise between democratic countries and the Middle East, Russia and China. Lately there has been political discussion about flags because our Canadian flags have been lowered since the spring in remembrance of Indigenous children who died in residential schools. Do we raise them and then lower them again on November 11? We’re in the process of figuring out how to remember and honour those special and haunting occasions.

This idea of remembering the past to honour those people who sacrificed and suffered is important. We need to learn from past mistakes. We need to remember every single person – past or present – is loved by God, a special unique person. 

But, we also need to remember that God is amazing and an integral part of our lives.

“the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders”  (v. 4)

Do you remember the times that God stepped into your life – saved you and helped you? If someone asked you to write a biography about how God has worked in your life, what would you include?

“He commanded our ancestors
    to teach them to their children,
so the next generation might know them—
    even the children not yet born—
    and they in turn will teach their own children.
So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
    not forgetting his glorious miracles
    and obeying his commands.”

This psalm stresses the importance of remembering what God has done for us, but even more the important – passing it along to our children. Perhaps tonight, you can start a discussion with your children/teens about Remembrance Day. Include in your discussion what God has done for you, and ask them how they see God in their lives. Start a tradition of remembering God’s special place in your life.

Our song for today is Remembrance by Hillsong United

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