Standing At Our Gates

We sense it was love you gave your world for;
the town squares silent,  awaiting their cenotaphs.

– Carol Ann Duffy, “The Wound In Time”

Many of us will stand, silent, waiting, at our own gates.

Waiting for sunrise, or for the bugle sounding The Last Post, then bare heartbeats later, Reveille.

It will not be like last year, at dawn, or in the morning, as we remember them.

Less, perhaps, of almost everything.

There will be less mystery, than when we were sentinels with each other in the darkness, just before the dawn.

Less theatre, than the almost-cavalcade, as those who served, and their children, marching with their children’s children, accompanied our community along the main street of Eumungerie, and Griffith, and Sydney’s CBD.

For most of us, Reveille will not sound except, perhaps, in memory.

However, what matters will be present. The remembering, the acknowledgement, the loss, the thankfulness, will all be extant.

Those who served – and still serve – at risk to themselves for others’ sake will still be held in our memories and our prayers.

We will still grieve a death from yesterday, or know the inherited grief of more than a century past.

We are still responsible for those who have returned broken and unsure, believing themselves less than they were, or burdened by far more. And for those who care for them, and for whom they care, what shall we offer? Surely more than memory, or our thankfulness, or our tears?

As disciples of the risen, crucified Jesus, we stand at our gates to remember, but also to look forward. We assert that the violent injustice of war has rarely been an answer, and never a hopeful one.

We proclaim a faith in which our God, our selves, our neighbour and even our enemy are loved. So what does remembering look like, in hope, as we follow Jesus?

We embody that hope of forgiveness and life, present in Jesus, in every relationship we share.

We will stand in thankfulness for service rendered;
we kneel in grief for lives lost, or broken;
we oppose those who call war peace, and violence justice;
and we love our neighbour, and our enemy, at cost to ourselves.

We are an Easter people, believing in hope beyond death. It is this which forms us for our remembering – for the past and for our future.

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