Materials for Worship on Remembrance Sunday 14th November 2021

The readings for this Sunday are: Psalm 90 and  John 6 37-40

 Peter Potter writes:

Armistice Day, 11 November, is also the Feast of St Martin. I do not know whether this day was deliberately chosen in 1918 but, if so, it would have been appropriate. St Martin is the patron saint of soldiers. He was born into a military family in what is now Hungary around 317 and he was named after Mars, the Roman god of war. He seems to have spent his childhood moving from one garrison to another but at some stage he came into contact with Christianity. Before long his ambition was to become a monk but his pagan family had other ideas and he was enlisted into the cavalry.

Like many in the armed forces Martin had to find a way to be true to his faith whilst under military discipline. We are told that his example in doing so, and his courage in the face of the enemy, encouraged others to turn to Christ. Eventually though he got his wish and was released from the army. He founded a monastery in Tours (where he probably mentored Ninian of Galloway). Later, and very reluctantly, he became a bishop.

The most famous event of Martin’s life, however, occurred when he was still in the army. One day in the depths of winter he was riding with a column of soldiers through Amiens, in northers France. At the gate of the town was a beggar, shivering with cold. The other soldiers ignored him. Martin, so we are told, had already given away his spare rations and money in other acts of charity. But that did not stop him. Drawing his sword, he took off his cloak, cut it in half and gave one half to the beggar. This seems a strange thing to do. Jesus, citing the example of the widow’s mite, said we should give the whole of our possessions. But, one half of a soldier’s equipment belonged to the emperor, so Martin was actually giving away all his possessions. All the same a soldier in half a cloak must have looked ridiculous but the others who saw it were ashamed that they had not acted when they could have.

That night Martin had a dream. He saw Jesus standing nearby, dressed in half a cloak. “What you do for the least of my brothers and sisters, you do also for me.” In some parts of Germany today, children hold lantern processions on 11 November in honour of St Martin and sing songs telling of his generosity.

It also reminds me of a life-changing moment experienced by Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy, a famous army chaplain. In 1917, running towards his own lines under shellfire, he came across the body of a young German soldier. “Then there came a light” he wrote in his diary. “It seemed to me that the boy disappeared and in his place there lay Christ on his cross”. Studdert-Kennedy realised that Christ is present in the battlefields of the world, amidst the strife and destruction we make in our own lives. He has been there already and shares our pain. He also calls us not to leave it there but to respond. As Martin did. His generous act transformed a naked, freezing beggar into a child of God.

Prayers of Intercession

Most holy and loving God, hear our prayers –

for all who strive for peace,

all who seek to keep this world secure and free;

and all who fight for justice.

Help us, who today remember the cost of war,

to work for a better tomorrow;

and, as we commend to you lives lost in terror and conflict,

bring us all, in the end, to the peace of your presence;

Lord, grant us peace.


For all who are in danger this day, for their family, friends

and all who pray for their safe return;

for women, children and men

whose lives are disfigured by war or terror,

calling to mind in penitence

the anger and hatreds of humanity;

Lord, grant us 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, justice and peace;

Lord, grant us peace.


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 work for a better future,

putting our faith in you;

the source of life and hope,

now and forever.        Amen