As every year, November is the month in which we remember the fallen in wars and those killed in atrocities worldwide during conflicts and struggles for power and control within the nations. We remember the fallen by wearing poppies and many take part in special celebrations for this Remembrance Day. Remembrance Day acts as a kind of warning for the devastation wars and atrocities can bring to so many people, while remembering those who fell victim to this.
Remarkably, it is the same month in which we celebrate Guy Fawkes, who wanted to blow up Parliament, which would have sent many, innocent or ‘guilty’ alike, to an early death. I’ve heard no one ever saying to me that this celebration is to remember that no one was killed in the end. Instead, Guy Fawkes’ Day is celebrated with large firework displays and the option of buying fireworks for at home to imitate the gun-powder plot and enjoying its devastating effects in a somewhat safer manner.
This weird combination of remembering and celebrating events of death and violence, within the same month, even within a week, perhaps shows the real nature of humanity in which love and hatred, peace and war, and many other opposing expressions of our human existence can switch within a very short period.
When God sent Jesus Christ into the world it was not because humanity was such an example of outstanding love and care. Neither did Christ come into our world because human beings had kept such a good and close relationship with God through faith and loyalty. Failure in all these areas lead to the ministry of Jesus Christ, which was a ministry of reconciliation between God and us, not on our behalf but that of God.
Understanding our own failures over the centuries and the ongoing situation of war and continuation of atrocities worldwide, makes us to recognise that peace and reconciliation is not in humanity itself, but has to come from outside. Standing in the belief that God initiates efforts of peace and reconciliation, we can find the courage to face our own ambivalent human nature with its opposing expressions of good and evil. But, with the help of God we can work on choosing the right path in the struggles we might find ourselves in.
Remembrance and celebration lay so close to each other, but only by our own choices can we make both events reminders of what each of us can do to make our world a place of peace and reconciliation.