There are at least four kinds of opportunities when people are open to considering the deeper things in life and faith. These opportunities are conveniently alliterated as Hurts, Hopes, Highs and Histories. People consider faith when they hurt. As the author and thinker CS Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain.” We often turn to God when we experience hurt.
People consider faith when they hope. We have dreams for our future, for our world’s future. Hope lifts our head from the mundane and gets us to lean into unknown. People who hope are close to God’s dreams for our world.
People consider faith when they experience highs. Joyous experiences such as the birth of a child, the wonder of a waterfall, the surprise of a sunset can take us out of ourselves. When this occurs, we can feel small, we can feel large, we can be humbled, we can be ecstatic, we can worship.
Then there are our Histories. There are shared memories written in our families, communities and nations which resonate with what God is like. This could be quite personal – the memory of humble grace around a meal, the hardworking hands of a weary mother. Our nation has several memories, today is one of them. This Remembrance Day we stop to reflect on the great sacrifices of women and men for the sake of our nation and the good of people. No one should love war, but there is love for people who served at the cost of their lives. This is a sombre, profound, holy time. This memory reminds us too of the depth of what God is like. God is not far from us as we wrestle with the burdens of pain, sorrow and evil in the world. God in Jesus knows the fullness of this battle as he surrendered his life on the cross, so we might live and be free.
Lest we forget.