32nd Sunday of the Year (B) 2018

We remember today and pray for all those who lost their lives as a result of the First World War.
It is good to remember and contemplate the enormity of what happened.
Casualties are estimated at 9 million combatants, 7 million civilians, between 50 and 100 million who succumbed to the flu epidemic which begun towards the end of the war and to which the war was a major contributing factor.
While attending Neston C of E church at an ecumenical service I noticed a plaque on the wall naming those from Neston hamlet, who had lost their lives in the war. The number was either 7 or 9 (I can’t quite remember now as it was 17 or 18 years ago.) Even today Neston village is a small place. Imagine that in 1914 it was a very small huddle of houses centered around their church. Everyone knew each other intimately. The inhabitants would have either worked underground in the stone quarries or on the local large estate.
Imaging the grief and shock in that hamlet at the loss of what was probably most if not all their young men.
Multiply this anguish and loss, millions and millions of times over, in families, hamlets, villages and towns all over the world.

And has the human race learned anything from this great tsunami of grief and loss and despair? We have learned how to slaughter each other in far greater numbers and far more efficiently.
This is what we call Original sin. This is the name Christianity gives to our propensity to bring harm and grief on ourselves and on each other.
That is why we need salvation. That is why we need a new heaven and a new earth.
As we read in 2 Peter; ‘We await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.’
We prey and hope that all the victims of World War 1 are now experiencing this new heaven and new earth.