CANORA - During the Remembrance Day service at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Canora on November 11, listeners were reminded that, even today, wars continue to rage around the globe.
Ken Rolheiser opened by honouring our living veterans.
“So today, while we pray for our departed veterans, we wish to pay special tribute to our living veterans. They made great sacrifices for peace in our world.”
Scripture readings from Micah 4:1-4 and Romans 12:12-21 were shared by Cheryl Senechal.
Congregational singing was accompanied by Leanne Buchinski, and included the well-known hymns Amazing Grace and O God Our Help in Ages Past.
Pastor Mavis Watson read the much-loved Remembrance Day poem In Flanders Fields.
Pastor Brett Watson opened the message by reading Matthew 5:3-12. Watson expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to speak and share his gratitude “for the men and women of this country, who fought and died, who fought and lived to tell, and who still fight today, to further the cause of peace and to protect the innocent in many places around the world.
“I am grateful to the parents and grandparents who have brought their young people out today, and also those young people here on their own. It is very important that we teach our young people to carry on this solemn ceremony of remembrance. Because we should never forget the price that was paid by those, for us.”
Watson shared that one of his grandfathers was born in 1901 and grew up just over the northern border of Germany in Denmark, “so he experienced life in Europe first hand during the war to end all wars.
“My stepfather Victor Hay served with the Princess Patricia Regiment in the Second World War, in France and Italy. He would be the closest relative to me who served. But I am grateful to those who have served because you and I live under the very freedoms afforded us by their sacrifice. Ever since the day that Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him, man has been at war; has been in conflict, and the blood of the innocent cries out from the ground for Justice.
“But all that was meant to change with Jesus.
“The gospel reading today is the introduction to how that was to take place in our hearts and lives. Where there was to be no more war and conflict between us, one to another.”
Watson indicated that at the time of the reading from Matthew, Jesus had just been baptized and many were wondering if He was their long-awaited Messiah.
“He began to teach,” continued Watson, “not only the most profound sermon ever delivered, but it was also an absolute world changing event. His words began to describe the heart of God for His people, His will as to what they were to believe, how they were to think, to act and especially how they were to regard and treat one another. It was very different from what they had come to believe and how they had always lived.
“Our gospel reading in Matthew chapter 5 is popularly called the beatitudes. If you asked the people, those of the culture and the time; those sitting there on the hillside where Jesus spoke, who they believed were blessed and highly favoured of God, they might have said:
“Blessed are the wealthy and the successful, blessed are the powerful and the dominant; those skilled in warcraft. Blessed are the charismatic; the tall and strong and physically attractive. Blessed are the religious; the self-righteous and highly educated. Sounds much like the way our world sees things today.
“Jesus must have completely astonished them when He said, “Blessed are the meek, the poor in spirit, those who mourn, who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed are the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers. Blessed are the persecuted, when people insult you and say all manner of evil against you.
“Jesus came to show us a still more excellent way. A way of life without war or conflict. A way of living out our lives in peace. In Jesus there is an end to conflict. He came as the Prince of Peace to be peace on the earth to all those of goodwill. Jesus calls us even further, to love our enemies and pray for those who hate us. He teaches us to look after one another, to feed, clothe, shelter and minister healing to all those who are in need.
“Yet as man continues to fight and wage war, it is my prayer that we would continue to honour and remember those who fought and care for those who must still fight even today. Let us continue to pray and to strive for peace around the world on this very special day of remembrance. God bless you.”
Howard Howells read the Roll Call.
Thom Carnahan, padre for the Canora branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, followed with prayer.
“O God, we pray for peace in our world, the peace, which is your will, the peace we so badly need. We remember today, O God, all those who died in any kind of war, especially those victims of the two World Wars. We remember those who came home with terrible injuries, both physical and psychological, and those whose loved ones never returned. Remembering the conflicts of the past and the sacrifices, which were made, we pray for a world where war remains a grim reality. Lord help us to renew our fight against cruelty and injustice, against prejudice, tyranny and oppression. O God, we pray for the leaders of the nations, asking you to pour out your spirit of reconciliation on them. Give them a longing to bring freedom from fear and want for all people. May all people of goodwill work to bring down the barriers, which divide people. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
“O God, we ask that you accept these prayers for the sake of all people and all nations. Amen.”
Pastor Greg Bright led in The Lord’s Prayer, followed by the blessing.
The service closed with the singing of God Save the King.
Following the service, those in attendance were invited to lunch at the Legion Dugout.
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