Worship in Carlops   14th November 2021  

Remembrance Sunday

Welcome and lighting of the candle   Galina MacNeacail


OPENING PRAYER                    Rev Chris Levison

God our Father, Christ our brother, Spirit our inner life,

on this day we bring you our divided nature, and we ask you to guide us.

Lord, we bring our shame.

We know your name is Prince of Peace

We know that you said “Thou shalt not kill”

But human beings seem incapable of going for a decade without a war.

Lord we do not hide our shame. We bring it openly to you,


Lord, we come before you in pride and thanks.

We remember people who have followed what they believed was right,

even when it meant the cost of their own lives.

Their sacrifice fills us with astonishment, and we give thanks that such people exist.

Lord, we do not hide our pride and thanks.

We bring it openly to you.


Lord, we bring you our confusion, and we ask you to resolve the chaos in our disordered souls. Without you we are helpless in the storm of our divided nature.


HYMN 715  Behold! the mountain of the Lord


  1.    Behold! the mountain of the Lord

          in latter days shall rise

          on mountain tops above the hills,

          and draw the wondering eyes.


  1.    To this the joyful nations round,

          all tribes and tongues, shall flow;

          up to the hill of God, they’ll say,

          and to his house we’ll go.


  1.    The beam that shines from Zion hill

          shall lighten every land;

          the King who reigns in Salem’s towers

          shall all the world command.


  1.    Among the nations he shall judge;

          his judgements truth shall guide;

          his sceptre shall protect the just,

          and quell the sinner’s pride.


  1.    No strife shall rage, nor hostile feuds

          disturb those peaceful years;

          to ploughshares men shall beat their swords,

          to pruning-hooks their spears.


  1.    No longer hosts, encountering hosts,

          shall crowds of slain deplore;

          they hang the trumpet in the hall,

          and study war no more.


  1.    Come then, O house of Jacob! come

          to worship at his shrine;

          and, walking in the light of God,

          with holy beauties shine.


READINGS                       Andy Armstrong

Deuteronomy 4: 9-14

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets. And the Lord directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.


St John 15. 9 – 17 

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.


REFLECTION                   Rev Chris Levison

Our opening prayer encapsulated the sensitivity and the apparent contradictions we often encounter on Remembrance Sunday. 


We are exhorted not to kill, yet the continuing seeming inevitability and repetitiveness of violence and war speaks of its futility and waste. And so we are properly ashamed.

And at the same time we are called and wish to honour the sacrifice made by vast numbers of people, predominantly young men, who have given their lives usually for causes they thought worthy, and from which we have benefited through democracy, rights and freedoms. And for that we are properly grateful.


The futility and waste of warfare has often been brought out powerfully (for me) in some of the songs written in our lifetimes.  Many years ago, when youth organisations were brought into church for this day, I sought to make it meaningful, with a small choir of Girl Guides singing the song “Where have all the flowers gone?”:  You will recall the round of the words, “Gone to young girls everyone, where have all the young girls gone? Gone to young men everyone; and the young men, gone to be soldiers everyone, the soldiers gone to graveyards, the graveyards gone to flowers, the flowers gone to young girls. And the chorus :When will we ever learn.?“  One of the gentlest anti war songs, yet still powerful.


Donovan sang a song called “the Universal Soldier”; he’s five foot two and he’s six foot four, he fights with missiles and with spears, he’s only seventeen and he’s all of sixty four, been a soldier for ten thousand years; he’s a Buddhist , a Baptist, an atheist a Jew, a Hindu and a Christian and of you, he knows he shouldn’t kill but he knows he always will, killing to me my friends its me or you”.

Tom Paxton more ironically in the song “What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine?  Sang “I learned that wars were not so bad, I’ve heard about the great ones we have had, we fought in Germany and in France and some day I might get my chance….


Visiting a Vietnam war museum two years ago, I was remindful of the words of the song, “Linden Johnston told the nation, have no fear of escalation we are trying everyone to please, tho’ it isn’t really war we’re sending fifty thousand more to help save Vietnam from Vietnamese.”

Eric Bogle, a folk  singer  who hailed from Peebles, sang a very poignant song about one young man “Willie McBride” killed in the first World War, with the repeating words, “Did the rifles fire o’er you as they lowered you down,? Did the bugles play the Last Post in chorus, did the pipes play the Floo’ers o’ the Forest?


Songs about the waste of life, and sometimes about the continuous trap of war from one generation to another.


And yet, we are not here only to recognise the folly, the painfulness and the awfulness of war. On remembrance Sunday we give thanks for the sacrifices made by so many, and we dedicate ourselves to do our part in creating a world and a civic society which tries to be worthy of such sacrifice. Remembrance has a purpose, it is neither nostalgic nor triumphal. We honour those who gave their all by giving our all, towards a just and a peaceful world in which such sacrifice, we hope will not be required again. 

In the passage from Deuteronomy we are reminded to teach our children in the hope that we can all learn from the past, so that the same mistakes may not be made again.


I remember vividly watching a Remembrance Day military parade in Aberdeen when I worked there as a chaplain. A German student was standing beside me, he turned to me and said perhaps rather sheepishly “In Germany we have learnt not to do it this way”.     I took it to mean that his own culture has come to realise the danger of militarism as an answer.  Trying not to make the same mistakes again. 

It’s a lesson for us all to learn, to turn down the volume of stirring marching music, to be very wary of the shallow thrill of jingoism, to temper the apparent excitement of conflict, and the flag waving of crowds as they send another generation of the young to their fate.


Over this past year we have again had reason to consider the awful contradictions of warfare; the evacuation of Kabul in Afghanistan, with the Taliban once more in power, the plight of those who worked with the allied forces, the future prospects of human rights, especially of young girls and women who had begun to experience some notions of autonomy and equal value.  Is it not heart-breaking to see young men, severely wounded and permanently damaged, being asked, by interviewers and reporters, “And do you think it was worth it? 


The bravery of people is astonishing and commendable and is properly honoured. But the answer to that question is left hanging in the wind.


Warfare has brought out both the noblest acts of self sacrifice and the worst acts of cruelty of which humanity is capable.


For its first three hundred hears the Christian church was a pacifist organisation.  When this new religion became the official religion of Rome under the emperor Constantine this was no longer a viable situation. Ever since there have been contradictions in theological thought, and theories such as the Just War have been advocated to try and answer them.  Sometimes we are dealing with the lesser of two evils, when to do nothing is worse than to act.  But could the use of nuclear weapons ever be justified ?  I fear not. The ethical concerns are huge. But these are arguments for another time.


Today, we remember the command to love one another,  we ask again, when will we ever learn?, and quite particularly we give the greatest of thanks for those who gave their lives in conflicts near and far, recent and ancient. Pledging ourselves to live and work for such a society and such a world where the awfulness of conflict will no longer be required. Where swords will be changed into ploughshares, where justice for all will reign, and each person will live in peace. For such is the kingdom to which we aspire.  Amen


PRAYER                           Bridget Wilcox

Let us say the Lord’s Prayer together:


Our Father, which are in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever. Amen


We pray for the souls of all those who have been lost in conflicts throughout the world, and we pray for those whose lives have been devastated physically and mentally as a result of war, and for their families. 


We pray that we as humanity may turn away from war and oppression and work for peace between all nations and creeds.  That we shall all love one another and work for the greater good.


We pray for those who are being persecuted for their beliefs or are prisoners of conscience

We remember Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe and all those who are being held captive for political reasons. 


We pray for our country and our politicians.  Guide them to act fairly and with integrity at this difficult time.


We pray that the result of COP 26 will not be empty words, but that large and small nations will work together to save our planet, and we commit ourselves individually to making our own contribution to preserving the world’s resources.


We pray for all those who have lost loved ones to Covid and for those who are waiting in pain for postponed treatment.


We remember those who work as carers and in the National Health Service who are somehow managing to keep going in extremely difficult circumstances.


Let us pray for a moment in silence


We give thanks for all our blessings, for the beauty of nature surrounding us, for our food and water and shelter.


We give thanks that we are able to worship together in church again and thank those who have kept the church going throughout lockdown.  And finally, we pray that we may treat each person as an equal, that we may always see the best in others and seek the common good.    AMEN


HYMN 710  ‘I have a dream’, a man once said


  1. ‘I have a dream’, a man once said,

          ‘where all is perfect peace;

          where men and women, black and white,

          stand hand in hand, and all unite

          in freedom and in love.’


  1.    But in this world of bitter strife

          the dream can often fade;

          reality seems dark as night,

          we catch but glimpses of the light

          Christ sheds on humankind.


  1.    Fierce persecution, war, and hate

          are raging everywhere.

          God calls us now to pay the price

          through struggles and through sacrifice

          of standing for the right.


  1.    So, dream the dreams and sing the songs,

          but never be content;

          for thoughts and words don’t ease the pain:

          unless there’s action, all is vain;

          faith proves itself in deeds.


  1.    Lord, give us vision, make us strong,

          help us to do your will;

          don’t let us rest until we see

          your love throughout humanity

          uniting us in peace.


Act of remembrance          Rev Chris Levison

          They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old

          Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

          At the going down of the sun, and in the morning

          We will remember them.



Last Post



Laying of the Wreath



Ever-living God
we remember those whom you have gathered
from the storm of war into the peace of your presence;
may that same peace calm our fears,
bring justice to all peoples
and establish harmony among the nations,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.



“May the peace of God which is beyond our understanding

keep you in the knowledge and love of God.

And the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you

and all we are called to love, both now and evermore. Amen


Sung Blessing         May the God of peace go with us,

                                as we travel from this place;

                                may the love of Jesus keep us

                                firm in hope, and full of grace.