A Service for Remembrance Sunday

Swanage Remembering at the War Memorial last year.

Swanage Remembering at the War Memorial last year.

A Service for Remembrance Sunday, 8th November, 2020



Before beginning to read this short service, you may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross, a candle, or a special place.  

May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.

We begin in silence, then read the following verses of Scripture. 


God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 46.1

I lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence will my help come?

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121.1,2

This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,

his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning.

Lamentations 3.21-23

Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,

they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

they shall run and not be weary

they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40.31

What does the Lord require of you but to do justice,

and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6.8


We commit ourselves to work in penitence and faith

for reconciliation between the nations,

that all people may, together, live in freedom, justice and peace.

We pray for all who in bereavement, disability and pain

continue to suffer the consequences of fighting and terror.

We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow

those whose lives, in world wars and conflicts past and present,

have been given and taken away.


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.



The Collect

Silence is kept.


Almighty Father,

whose will is to restore all things

in your beloved Son, the King of all:

govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,

and bring the families of the nations,

divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin,

to be subject to his just and gentle rule;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.



The First Hymn

For the Healing of the Nations:  please access Simon’s accompaniment here: 



For the healing of the nations,

Lord, we pray with one accord,

for a just and equal sharing

of the things that earth affords.

To a life of love in action

help us rise and pledge our word.


Lead us forward into freedom,

from despair your world release,

that, redeemed from war and hatred,

all may come and go in peace.

Show us how through care and goodness

fear will die and hope increase.


All that kills abundant living,

let it from the earth be banned:

pride of status, race or schooling,

dogmas that obscure your plan.

In our common quest for justice

may we hallow brief life's span.


You, Creator God, have written

your great name on humankind;

for our growing in your likeness

bring the life of Christ to mind;

that by our response and service

earth its destiny may find.


The First Reading:

Amos 5: 18-24


Psalm 70

Refrain:    Come to me quickly, O God.

1    O God, make speed to save me;  

O Lord, make haste to help me.

2    Let those who seek my life

be put to shame and confusion;  

let them be turned back and disgraced

who wish me evil.

3    Let those who mock and deride me  

turn back because of their shame. [R]

4    But let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;  

let those who love your salvation say always, ‘Great is the Lord!’

5    As for me, I am poor and needy;  

come to me quickly, O God.

6    You are my help and my deliverer;  

O Lord, do not delay.

Refrain:    Come to me quickly, O God.


O God, our helper and defender,

deliver us in our weakness,

answer our longings

and vindicate our faith,

that we may see your glory

in Jesus Christ our Lord.



The Second Reading:

1 Thessalonians 4: 13-end


The Gospel:

Matthew 25: 1-13



The Old Testament reading today, from the prophecy of Amos, ends with a proclamation of intensity and power: “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”  As Christians face the reality of war and all its consequences, there is a desire within us to echo the words of this determined prophet.  Amos was a scourge of those whose only thought was for themselves.  The sheer destruction and suffering of humanity, inflicting harm upon itself in war, can only be justified in bringing injustice and tyranny to an end. 

It has been said that our remembrance on this day should not so much concentrate on what happened, or even on who or what we remember, the really important thing is ‘how’ we remember.  How do we set our silence and thoughts in context, for us, for our day?  Just remembering quietly in thanksgiving another’s sacrifice is, of course, what we are led to do, and we will all try to contemplate that sacrifice in thanksgiving for those who have lost their lives in war, but what this means to us, how it affects us, results in what it inclines us to become.  This is just as important, because we can change things in our day for good, as men and women have always attempted.  We act with the knowledge and vision that we have at that moment. 

So we think, “How do we understand?” “How do we remember?” We remember largely by listening to the human story; by projecting what we know onto the screen of our own experience.  We look at words and pictures; listen to first-hand accounts and feel the emotional drive of those who left these shores and their families and their homes and their security, who dreamt of a world of stability and beauty in a situation that was far from those things, and so endured what they had to endure with courage and resilience, because whatever the rights and wrongs of the bigger picture, this was close to home; it’s about who we are and what we hold dear; and we are carried along in the ever-flowing stream of life. 

Today, in a world probably less secure than at any time since the Cold War, our prayers for peace may have their focus on several potential flash-points.  Part of the ‘how’ of our remembrance is to illuminate how injustice has shown itself again and again in history, and where it exists in the world today, and to see this with the light of our faith.   We hope that our remembrance today will help us in our understanding, and bring us close to those who in our own day, as well as in the past, carry the scars of human conflict.

John Mann


Second Hymn 

O God, Our Help in Ages Past: https://youtu.be/didvsHGOq4Q


1 O God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Our shelter from the stormy blast,

And our eternal home;


2 Under the shadow of thy throne

Thy saints have dwelt secure;

Sufficient is thine arm alone,

And our defence is sure.


3 Before the hills in order stood,

Or earth received her frame,

From everlasting thou art God,

To endless years the same.


4 A thousand ages in thy sight

Are like an evening gone,

Short as the watch that ends the night

Before the rising sun.


5 Time, like an ever-rolling stream,

Bears all its sons away;

They fly forgotten, as a dream

Dies at the opening day.


6 O God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Be thou our guard while troubles last,

And our eternal home.



Let us pray for all who suffer as a result of conflict,

and ask that God may give us peace:

for the service men and women

who have died in the violence of war,

each one remembered by and known to God;

may God give peace.

God give peace.


For those who love them in death as in life,

offering the distress of our grief

and the sadness of our loss;

may God give peace.

God give peace.


For all members of the armed forces

who are in danger this day,

remembering family, friends

and all who pray for their safe return;

may God give peace.

God give peace.


For civilian women, children and men

whose lives are disfigured by war or terror,

calling to mind in penitence

the anger and hatreds of humanity;

may God give peace.

God give peace.


For peacemakers and peacekeepers,

who seek to keep this world secure and free;

may God give peace.

God give peace.


For all who bear the burden and privilege of leadership,

political, military and religious;

asking for gifts of wisdom and resolve

in the search for reconciliation and peace;

may God give peace.

God give peace.


O God of truth and justice,

we hold before you those whose memory we cherish,

and those whose names we will never know.

Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this broken world,

and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm.

As we honour the past,

may we put our faith in your future;

for you are the source of life and hope,

now and for ever.



The Peace


The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said, “Peace be with you.”  Then were they glad when they saw the Lord


An Act of Commitment 


Let us commit ourselves to responsible living and faithful service.

Will we strive for all that makes for peace?

We will.


Will we seek to heal the wounds of war?

We will.


Will we work for a just future for all humanity?

We will.


Merciful God, we offer to you the fears in us

that have not yet been cast out by love:

may we accept the hope you have placed in the hearts of all people,

and live lives of justice, courage and mercy;

through Jesus Christ our risen redeemer.



The Lord’s Prayer


A few moments of silence before we pray:


God of peace,

whose Son Jesus Christ proclaimed the kingdom

and restored the broken to wholeness of life:

look with compassion on the anguish of the world,

and by your healing power

make whole both people and nations;

through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.





The Lord bless us and keep us:


The Lord make his face to shine upon us,

and be gracious to us:


The Lord lift up his countenance upon us

and give us peace:


Numbers 6.24-26


The Lord God almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

the holy and undivided Trinity,

guard us, save us,

and bring us to that heavenly city,

where he lives and reigns for ever and ever.



Elegy - George Thalben-Ball:  https://youtu.be/D_3bB74vKoc


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