Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembrance Day!

Wreaths laid by various countries
Ambassador of Canada
Yesterday when we arrived at church (Union Church of Guatemala) we realized that some thing was different. The parking lot was full of blacked out, bullet proof SUV's. Also the parking lot and entrance way of the church were full of body guards. We were not sure why that was until we entered the sanctuary. The church was full of important dignitaries (ambassadors and government representatives) and flower wreaths. After seeing all that we realized that the service was to remember the wars that have been fought and those who have fallen. Apparently Union Church has this service every year and each year the different embassies send their representatives to participate and bring a wreath. The service was beautiful and touching as each country present participated by reading portions of Scripture and reading poems (Flanders Field) and epitaphs related to the war.  Among the countries represented were Germany and Italy which was interesting to see. The other countries present were Britain, Canada, USA, France, Italy, and Russia. Although these countries fought each other during the World Wars it was neat to see them stand together to remember those who had fallen on both sides and seeing some of the ambassadors who are not believers reading the Scriptures. Our hope is that through the reading of Scripture some of them will begin to seek after God. 
The message was on peace and reconciliation and Pastor John Conner did not water it down in order to appease these important dignitaries. He focused on the character of God who reconciled us to Himself even though we had gravely offended and sinned against Him. He mentioned how Christianity is unique from all other religions in that sense, because "the offended" God took the initiative and that it is only through His Son that we can be reconciled to Him and as a result of that be able to reconcile our broken relationships with each other. 
After the closing prayer and benediction a Bagpiper finished the service by playing "Amazing Grace". Our kids were quite impacted by what they experienced as Remembrance Day is not some thing that is commemorated in Guatemalan society. It is good that we remember the sacrifice people have made for our country, freedom, and peace. However, this sacrifice is nothing compared to the sacrifice the Father made when He sent His only Son to die in order that we might be reconciled with God and receive the "peace that surpasses all understanding".