History and memory.

In the UK we have just had our annual Remembrance Service commemorating the sad destruction of war during WW1. It has been a time of national sadness as we remember it’s centenary without any veterans alive.

I follow a number of blogs, and I generally find some very poignant posts that reflect the mood of today. Sadly, I read an article by Jonny Baker suggesting that we should have a time limit on this world occasion, he suggests that now is the time to draw a line underneath this period of history and move on. I think this is very dangerous and symptomatic of a society that seems to want everything with minimal pain or suffering – Bonhoeffer called it cheap grace in fact.

I want to quote this excellent section from Jurgen Moltmann, a theologian who was a POW in Britain during WW2, and one of my favourite theologians:

“But experienced does not merely evoke this grateful remembrance of ‘the great acts of God’.

There is also the remembrance of Israel’s and her dead, which is both a lamentation and an impeachment. Hardly any other people has written down and kept account of it’s defeats and persecutions as have the Jews, most recently of all in the German annihilation¬† camps in the Second World War. The struggle against death is always and before all else the struggle against forgetting by way of remembrance.

Remembrance is the secret of redemption, forgetfulness leads to exile

These words are written over Yad Vashem, the Jewish place of remembrance in Jerusalem. Remembrance is the secret which hastens redemption because it holds fast to the dead, and brings their names before God.”

– Jurgen Moltmann, ‘The Way of Jesus Christ – Christology in messianic dimensions’. 1999. p208


This entry was posted in Armed Forces, Bonhoeffer, Culture, Jurgen Moltmann, Theology, War. Bookmark the permalink.

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