Sunday, 8th November

Together in Prayer

O Lord, open our lips
And our mouth shall declare you praise!

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you;
now and for ever.

The Peace of the Nations
Almighty God,
we commit ourselves to work in penitence and faith
for reconciliation between the nations of the world,
that all may, together, live in freedom,
justice and peace.
We pray for all, who in bereavement, disability, and pain,
continuing to suffer the consequences of fighting and terror.
We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow those whose lives,
In world wars and conflicts
Past and present, have been given
and taken away.

We remember all those who have given their lives in the service of their country especially those from within our local community. They shall grow not old, as we are left grow old; age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn, and at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
We will remember them.

Reading: Matthew 25:1-13
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

Thought for the week: Nigel Hughes
I thought that as today is Remembrance Day, that instead of basing my thought for the week on our reading as usual, I would instead briefly cover the role played by those who ministered to the armed forces in times of conflict.

The presence of religious leaders among armies is an ancient custom. The Bible records that the Israelites brought their priests with them into battle. The Romans did as well, and had their pagan priests perform ritual sacrifices and read auguries from animal entrails on the eve of battle. The Middle Ages produced a number of sword-bearing warrior-priests, but, by the Renaissance, chaplains played chiefly a non-combatant role in the military. By the time of Henry VIII, Chaplains, as they were known, had become more established and, by 1645, the status of Chaplains was regularised, and most Regiments had their own Chaplain.

However, Army chaplains came into their own during the First World War with its extended periods of trench warfare and the ensuing heavy casualties. 179 British Army chaplains lost their lives during the conflict, with three of them being awarded the Victoria Cross. The role of chaplains expanded and changed during the Second World War. In addition to celebrating the eucharist and administering the sacraments, chaplains would visit the sick, and wounded, those who were incarcerated, and also offer religious instruction.

Furthermore, chaplains were charged with strengthening moral and unity across the units they served, maintaining high morale, encouraging, and assisting soldiers to write to their families, censoring letters, actively participating in mess duties, and assisting medical staff in treating the wounded. During the Second World War, 96 chaplains from the British
armed forces were killed.

The armed forces today have more chaplains (or padres as they are also known) on active service than at any time since World War II. Their role has evolved considerably as greater demands are placed upon our military forces globally. They continue to serve God as they operate on the front line supporting the needs of the service men and women who are keeping us safe. They offer a safe haven for all who may have troubled minds or who may need guidance and support. They are a gift from God in the service of our country.

Collect for the 3rd Sunday before Advent
Almighty Father;
Whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of all:
govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,
and bring the families of the nations,
divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin,
to be subject to his just and gentle rule;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


Let us pray for all who suffer as a result of conflict,
and ask that God may give us peace;
for the service men and women who have died
in the violence of war, each one remembered by
and known by God
May God give peace
God give peace

For those who love them in death as in life,
offering the distress of our grief and the sadness of our loss;
May God give peace
God give peace

For all members of the armed forces who are in danger this day,
Remembering family, friends, and all who pray for their safe return;
May God give peace
God give peace

For civilian women, children, and men whose lives are disfigured
by war or terror, calling to mind in penitence the anger and hatreds of humanity;
May God give peace
God give peace

For peace-makers and peace-keepers,
Military and religious; asking for gifts of wisdom and resolve in the search for reconciliation and peace.
May God give peace
God give peace

O God of truth and justice,
we hold before you those whose memory we cherish,
and those whose names we will never know.
Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this broken world,
and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm.
As we honour the past, may we put our faith in your future;
for you are the source of life and hope, now and for ever.

We join all our prayers into one, by saying the Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.

When you go home tell them of us and say,
for your tomorrow we gave our today.

The Blessing
God grant to the living grace, to the departed rest,
To the Church, the State, and all people,
unity, peace, and concord,
and to us and all God’s servants,
life everlasting.
And the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Be with us and remain with us always.