By Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury
The tiny village of Powerstock is one of many to use the centenary of the start of the First World War to research the names read from their War Memorial on Remembrance Day. Seventeen local people committed to the project and involved others, including the readers of the Bridport News.
In the book they published, they tell of people who would otherwise remain unknown names read out on Remembrance Day and provide a window into the world a hundred years ago through the particulars of their village.
War is terrible. The list and scale of conflicts in our present world is dispiriting: the continuing struggles of South Sudan mean there are 1.4 million displaced people and the United Nations estimate 4 million are at risk of hunger; Syria, the incipient Islamic State in Iraq; the Ukraine; Boko Haram in Nigeria.... The Pope has wondered if they will define and shape this century as the First World War did the last.
It can feel overwhelming, as though nothing we could do will make any difference. It is easy to become mean-spirited, selfish and inward looking. So here are some suggestions about how to renew hope, repair the world and be human so that we remain open to God, and one another.
Jewish Rabbis teach that the person who makes peace with their neighbour makes peace with the world. That is a good start but don’t forget Jesus taught that our neighbour includes the people no-one likes and also our enemy. Love is without limit, so charity which begins at home does not stop at home.
We live in a world overloaded with information. Our knowledge is rapidly expanding. Wisdom, on the other hand, is precious and hard won.
In all our remembrances, we are seeking understanding, wisdom and the Spirit of God that makes for peace.