Tuesday church sermon 11 November – Remembrance Day and Peacemakers
Readings: Psalm 23:1-6; Matthew 5:1-12
MATTHEW 5.1– 12 – The Beatitudes (Translated by Tom Wright)
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the hillside, and sat down. His disciples came to him.
2 He took a deep breath, and began his teaching:
3 ‘Wonderful news for the poor in spirit! The kingdom of heaven is yours.
4 ‘Wonderful news for the mourners! You’re going to be comforted.
5 ‘Wonderful news for the meek! You’re going to inherit the earth.
6 ‘Wonderful news for people who hunger and thirst for God’s justice! You’re going to be satisfied.
7 ‘Wonderful news for the merciful! You’ll receive mercy yourselves.
8 ‘Wonderful news for the pure in heart! You will see God.
9 ‘Wonderful news for the peacemakers! You’ll be called God’s children.
10 ‘Wonderful news for people who are persecuted because of God’s way! The kingdom of heaven belongs to you.
11 ‘Wonderful news for you, when people slander you and persecute you, and say all kinds of wicked things about you falsely because of me!
12 Celebrate and rejoice: there’s a great reward for you in heaven. That’s how they persecuted the prophets who went before you.’
Wright, Tom (2014-03-20). Matthew for Everyone: Chapter 1-15, Part 1 (Kindle Locations 702-718). SPCK. Kindle Edition.
Message at Tuesday church
Bull story: Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Immediately they ran toward the nearest fence. The storming bull ran after them in hot pursuit, and they realized that they were not going to make it. Terrified, one man shouted to his friend, “Say a prayer, John. We’re in trouble” John said, “I’ve never prayed out loud before. I don’t know what to say. “But you have to” yelled his companion; “The bull is catching up to us.” “All right,” said John, as he ran with all his might; “I’ll say the only prayer I know. My father used to say it at the table: Oh Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.”
There are some things in life that come along that you can do absolutely nothing about. Like an enraged bull charging at you.
Well you can run! True.
But you can’t stop an angry bull. But you can find a different field to cross.
And you can pray!
It’s said that there are no atheists when bombs are falling.
The 1st World War was supposed to be the war to end all wars. The writer H G Wells published some articles in August 1914 which appeared in a book called “The war that will end war”. It became a common catch phrase.
In fact people believed that it would be over by Christmas. It was eventually over by Christmas 5 Christmases later.
Quick facts and figures
- The total population of New Zealand in 1914 was just over one million.
- In all, more than 120,000 New Zealanders enlisted, and around 103,000 served overseas. (That’s one in ten.)
- More than 2200 Maori and around 460 Pacific Islanders served overseas with the New Zealand forces.
- 11 Victoria Crosses were won by soldiers serving with New Zealand forces.
- At least 3370 New Zealanders served in the Australian or British imperial forces, winning a further five Victoria Crosses.
- In all, 550 nurses served with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and many others enlisted in the United Kingdom.
- Around 18,500 New Zealanders died in or because of the war, and about 41,000 were wounded or fell ill. More than 2700 died at Gallipoli and 12,500 on the Western Front.
- The names of those who died are recorded on approximately 500 civic war memorials throughout New Zealand.
The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was over 37 million. There were over 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history.
Jesus – at his first major “sermon” on the mount includes this line:
Mat 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
“Blessings on the peace makers. For you will be called God’s children.” (Kingdom NT)
Matthew for everyone (Tom Wright):
Wonderful news for the peacemakers! You’ll be called God’s children.
It’s the nature of God’s children to be peacemakers.
So today – while we remember those who gave their lives in all wars that we know of – let’s also give thanks for the peacemakers of the world.
Those who live in hard places – where there are many raging bulls chasing them with the intention of doing serious damage.
We can’t stop the carnage.
But we too can pray for them – each day. While we are generally very blessed – while our lives are wonderful news most days compared to the millions of refugees who have had to run from their homes – who live in tents far from home – and who have lost loved ones and all they have worked for – let us use our time to ask God to be with them.
And let us pray for the peacemakers – for leaders and organisations – who try to bring war to an end. It’s not that easy. They need our prayers.
And let us do our bit to be peacemakers where we live.
Most of all let us not forget those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice of giving up their lives to make the world a safer place for others.