inconvenient memories

I’ve just watched the annual Festival of Remembrance from the Royal Albert Hall. I find the interviews of injured servicemen and of bereaved families very moving.

But for me the most significant moment is the two minute’s silence accompanied by the dropping of thousands of red petals from the ceiling onto the participants and spectators below. During those brief minutes, normal life is suspended, the pageantry is stilled, even worship of God pauses to acknowledge the lives represented by those red flakes.

The majority of those present remained silent and still, suppressing the natural urge to shake the petals from carefully arranged hair or brush them from otherwise spotless garments. The random scattering represents the unpredictable and unwelcome nature of death in action.

But this mess seemed too much for one lady, caught on camera shaking her head and scattering petals to the floor. The movement seemed almost irritable, as if this breach of normal etiquette was too much to bear, even in memory of the fallen.

And yet perhaps I misjudge her. One may have brushed her nose causing a natural shiver; she may have felt a draught through the corridors of the old building; or perhaps it stirred a painful memory of a personal loss.

Whatever the reason, it reminded me how, in our relatively peaceful time, we are so easily irritated by trifles and how hardly we stop to think of others. Indeed we take our freedom so much for granted that it could easily be taken from us.

May God help us to count our blessings, to guard our hearts against complacency and keep us ever mindful of our need of and responsibility towards others.

Steven — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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About prophetable

My wife Elizabeth and I were commissioned as Officers (ministers) in The Salvation Army in 1997, and have served in appointments in England and Scotland. Since July 2016 I have been working in The Salvation Army's Scotland Office as combined parliamentary and ecumenical representative.
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