Sunday, 13 November 2016


Rememembrance Sunday began with an Act of Remembrance at the war memorial in Old Jamaica Road (above) for the Queen's Regiment, Bermondsey Battalion.

We were joined by representatives from the Army, the British Legion (left), including the cadets who formed the parade, by representatives from Southwark Council, by Neil Coyle MP, and by Sir Simon Hughes, who all laid wreaths at the newly restored memorial, following the two minutes silence.

From there it was back to St James, where the bells were already ringing, for our main Remembrance Sunday service which included contributions from our local community choir, Bermondsey Voices.

 Here is an extract of what I said in the sermon on 1 Peter 2.13-25:

'Sadly, there never has been a war to end all wars. Warfare and violence continue to mar the face of God’s earth to this very day.

So, what is the answer?

The Bible’s answer is to point to one man, and to what he did when he stepped into human history. He was quite clearly the most powerful man in the world.

All things were made by him and through him. His father’s settled plan was that this Son would have supremacy in all things. He was the king of kings. The Lord of Lords. The President of Presidents. The Prime Minister of Prime Ministers.

He knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; but what did he do when they mocked him, insulted him, spat at him, whipped him and abused him?


As the Apostle Peter tells us in today’s second reading:  When he was insulted, he did not answer back with an insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but placed his hopes in God, the righteous Judge.

The most powerful man in the universe turned the other cheek and never hit back. And then in the battle to end all battles, he took the weight of the world’s sin and violence and disobedience on his own shoulders.

It killed him, but in his death he won an everlasting victory for everyone who would put their trust in him. The Apostle Peter puts it like this: Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed

Christ himself. God’s chosen one. The king. Took OUR sins in his body on the cross. By his wounds we are healed. He died our death. He bore our sin. He accepted our punishment. Like a sheep about to be slaughtered he never said a word.

And on that day Love won the victory. So that in his dying breath, God’s son could say ‘it is finished.’ Not ‘I am finished’ but ‘it is finished.’ The great work of salvation has been triumphantly accomplished in the shame and blood and degradation of the cross.

And that death has made it possible for people who have lost their way completely, to find their way back to God.'

Bermondsey Voices singing on Remembrance Sunday

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