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Remembrance Sunday (3 Before Advent) 2013 (Yr C)

St Philip's, Earl's Court Road. !

Job 19.23-27a; Luke 20.27-38! Memories.!

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Our lives are saturated by them, shaped by them. Yet often we remain unconscious of the role they play until something goes wrong.! Some neuroscientists have begun to believe that the simple act of remembering can itself change our memories.! Scientists have known for several years that recording a memory in our minds requires adjusting the connections between one of the billions of neurons in the human brain.! But it now seems possible that once an old memory's been recalled, ling it away afterwards for long-term storage may be surprisingly similar to creating it the rst time. Both seem to involve changes in the structure of the brain. And so it's possible the memory itself might be changed in the process.!

And yet a world in which memories never changed might be equally scary. Imagine if fond memories of an early love werent tempered by the knowledge of a disastrous breakup, or if recollections of difcult times werent offset by the knowledge that things worked out in the end. !

Our pasts are an important part of who we are, but scientists, novelists and psychotherapists suggest that our relationship to our past needs to be creative. This is territory where Marcel Proust and Sigmund Freud showed the way long before the neuroscientists.!

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Any healthy life involves a conversation between past and present, a dialogue between memories and lived experience in which each is shaped by the other. This is as true for nations and communities as for individuals.! We are used to the idea that the past shapes the present. But in a healthy relationship with the past, the conversation is two-way. If the past is not continually re-assessed, reinterpreted, it becomes a tyrant.! There are whole nations whose self-identity is so tied up with moments in its past and with a particular way of understanding those moments, that they're unable to move on. Something similar is true for us as individuals.!

This idea frightens us. The possibility that our memories might be changed by others has haunted some of the best sci- movies in recent years. It frightens us because our identity, our sense of who we are, is so wrapped up with our memories. We watch elderly relatives losing their memory and our reaction is coloured by the knowledge it might happen one day to us.!

Remembrance Sunday (3 Before Advent) 2013 (Yr C)

St Philip's, Earl's Court Road. !

Job 19.23-27a; Luke 20.27-38!

At the other extreme are those who forget. Sometimes memories are so painful that people have to forget for a while, simply to survive. But the time comes when the forgetting becomes as much of a problem as the memory itself.!

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Every week, at this service,we remember, as Jesus himself told us:! 'Do this in remembrance of me'.!

Today on Remembrance Sunday we choose to remember together, lest we forget. But why do we remember? Is our present being shaped by our memories of our past? Are our political leaders making choices informed by the past? As we vote for our leaders, are we informed by the past?!

The Passover meal at which Jesus said these words was itself an act of memory. In the Book of Exodus we read:! when your children say to you, What do you mean by this service? you shall say, It is the sacrice of the Lord's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses. (Exodus 12.26-27)!

! Listen to some words written by a. British army chaplain:! !

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'After an easy conquest and the successful installation of a pro-western puppet ruler, the regime, and we, began to face increasingly widespread resistance ... A war begun for no wise purpose, carried on with a strange mixture of rashness and timidity, brought to a close after suffering and disasternot one benet, political or military has been achieved by this war. Our eventual evacuation of the country resembled a retreat'. !

It was at the annual Passover meal that the people of Israel reminded themselves who they were by remembering. It's this very meal at which Jesus chooses to say:!

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'Do this in remembrance of me.'!

These words were written about the war in Afghanistan. But they were written in 1843.!

To remember Jesus in this way is to make him present, is to know him once again in a new way, is to allow ourselves to be changed by him, is to understand who we are in the light of his life and death. !

Remembrance Sunday (3 Before Advent) 2013 (Yr C)

St Philip's, Earl's Court Road. !

Job 19.23-27a; Luke 20.27-38! Remembering, at its best, is a creative act, in which we continue to engage with the past in ways that are inevitably new, because we ourselves have changed. If our habits and our rituals become merely perfunctory and fail to engage with the people we've now become, they have lost their power and their signicance.!

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So today as we share the Eucharist together, let us bring the real people we are now to the altar and allow ourselves to be changed by a fresh encounter with the living Christ. ! And as we remember those who have died in war, those who have sacriced their lives for their countries, let us not evade the challenge to our leaders and to all of us to honour the courage of our soldiers by only asking them to ght when it is truly necessary: when the cause is noble and the justication true. !

! We will remember them.! !