The Parishes of Skelton, Shipton and Newton
Newton on Ouse
Sunday 13th September 2020
Today we gather, not at a memorial to those members of the Royal Air Force who took part in the Battle of Britain but in the safety and security of our own homes as a response to a completely different kind of threat. The people who gave their lives in the summer of 1940 were not just the natives of these islands. They came from all over the Commonwealth, from the occupied nations of Europe and nations that held freedom as dear as we do. This year sees the 80th anniversary of the attempted aerial invasion of our skies when so much was owed by so many to so few. It was also the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II with V - E Day in May and V - J Day in August. As the anniversary number gets larger, the number of people who were there and are still with us to share their memories gets fewer. All of those events were and are a cause for celebrations but are also tinged with thoughts of the sacrifices that had been made to bring those events about.
And so from our homes, wherever we may be, we take this opportunity to commemorate and also to remember. We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow those whose lives, in world wars and conflicts past and present, have been given and taken away. We pray for all who in bereavement, disability and pain continue to suffer the consequences of fighting and terror. We commit ourselves to work in penitence and in faith for reconciliation between the nations that all people may live together in freedom, justice and peace.
And so, as we gather, let us pray…
God of righteousness, you have taught us through your Son to set our minds on your kingdom and justice before all things.Grant that in us and in others suspicion may give place to trust, and stridency to peace, that we may live and work together for peace and in a spirit of unity and love; we ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
HYMN – I VOW TO THEE MY COUNTRY
I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love:
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best; The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.
The first reading is taken from the book of Micah, Chapter 4 verses 1 to 5
In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills. Peoples shall stream to it, and many nations shall come and say: the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore;but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
All the nations may walk, each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.
The 2nd Reading is taken from the Gospel of St John Chapter 15 verses 9 to 17
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these
things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
September 15th 1940 was the climax of the Battle of Britain. On that day the German Luftwaffe mounted its greatest effort to destroy the RAF to open the way for an invasion of these shores by ground forces. They
failed to achieve their objective. The intensity of the battle died away after that day and the invasion forces were dispersed to other duties. During the entire battle from 10th July to 31st October 1940 1495 aircrew from the RAF and the Fleet Air Arm were killed in action. The home towns of those that made the ultimate sacrifice stretched from Canada to New Zealand. But it did not involve only aircrew. People from every walk of life played their part. Due to the air activity of the Luftwaffe in bombing both military and non-military targets, people from every walk of life paid with their lives. In the whole of the Battle only one Victoria Cross was awarded. Flt Lt Nicholson was based at RAF Linton on Ouse but was on detachment at RAF Boscombe Down when the incident which won him the award took place.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of those events. We remember the events that took place, the people who took part and we commemorate the sacrifices that were made particularly by those in the front line who took the greatest risks and suffered the largest loss of life. But, as we used to say when I was in the RAF, what were the lessons learnt and what do we do differently today. We have not achieved the ambitions stated in our reading from Micah, swords are still swords and spears are still spears and we still learn war. But we are able to sit out in the shade of the trees and we are not as afraid as we were then. And as for walking with God, despite what is going on in our world today and considering the effect of Covid-19; we are finding new and more exciting ways of doing that every day.
In my life, I have been an active participant in 3 different groups of people; my family, the Church and an RAF squadron. Despite outward impressions they all have a great deal in common. For a start they all have their
off days but when the pressure is on and things need to be achieved it is amazing what they can do. It is at this point that commandment that Jesus gave us in our second reading comes into play; love one another as I have loved you. If that is in the forefront of our minds in times of trouble it puts a whole new perspective on life.
A lot of the material and inconsequential aspects of life fade into the background and the realisation that it is how we interact as people that is at the heart of everything we do that comes to the fore. Putting the love that God so willingly shares with us into our own relationships can be demanding but can have awesome results. That greater love of laying down one’s life for one’s friends sounds like something that you would expect to find only in the RAF aspect of my life but I have seen it in all three. There are many in our families and churches who dedicate their lives to loving and caring for others. It was those I knew in the RAF and who flew in the Battle of Britain who made that ultimate sacrifice not just for their friends but also for those whom they never met or knew, that I am remembering today.
80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain
Gracious God, as part of our worship this day we give thanks once more for the liberty which that Battle of Britain preserved for us and the world. We remember with gratitude the dedication and heroism of members of the Allied Air Forces.
We remember their successors; our colleagues now engaged in many parts of the world and pray that you would watch over them.
We pray for the Royal Air Force, that its power and skill may always be used to safeguard justice and peace.
Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin and sent into our hearts the Spirit of your Son.
Give us the grace to dedicate our freedom to your service that all people may know the glorious liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Prayer of Commemoration for the ending of World War II
Heavenly Father, we remember before you V-E Day and V-J Day, the ending of a war that engulfed our planet. Then began the work of rebuilding broken and damaged lives and families, communities and Nations. So few of them are alive today, so we especially ask that you would hold for ever all who took part and are with us no longer. We kindle in our hearts the desire to go forward in our lives determined to work for and keep the privileges and freedoms for which they fought. And as you remember them, remember us, O Lord; grant us peace in our time and a longing for the day when people of every language, race, and nation will be brought into the unity of Christ’s kingdom. This we ask in the name of the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A prayer for Peace
Almighty God, Help the members of our armed forces as they strive with you to make your world as your love would make it:
A world where the weak are protected and none go hungry or poor;
A world where the benefits of civilised life are shared and everyone can enjoy them;
A world where different races and cultures live in tolerance and mutual respect;
A world where peace is built with justice and justice is guided by love.
And give to those men and women throughout the world inspiration and courage as they go about their duties and surround them with your love and protection. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
HYMN – O RULER OF THE EARTH AND SKY
O Ruler of the earth and skybe with our airmen when they fly; and keep them in thy loving careamid the perils of the air.O let our cry come unto theefor those who fly o'er land and sea
Strong Son of Man, save those who fly swift-winged across uncharted sky; each anxious hour and lonely flight, serene, unchallenged, day and night. O'er land and ocean safely bearall those in peril in the air.
O Holy Spirit, God's own power give peace in sudden danger's hour: bring calm of heart, and be thou near to those who watch and those who fear. To thee will rise the grateful prayerof those who serve thee in the air.
O Trinity of love and grace,true guide of all who fly through space, in peace or war, mid friend or foe,be with them whereso'er they go.So shall our praise with heaven's blend and joyful hearts to thee ascend.
Ever-living God, we remember those whom you have gatheredfrom the storm of war into the peace of your presence; may that same peace calm our fears, bring justice to all peoples and establish harmony among the nations, we ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE ACT OF REMEMBRANCE
Let us remember before God,and commend to his sure keeping:those who have died for their country in conflict;those whom we knew, and whose memory we treasure;and all who have lived and died in the service of humanity.
They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morningWe will remember them.
All respond: We will remember them.
LAST POST – SILENCE – REVEILLE
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and Glorious,
Long to reign over us;
God save the Queen!
Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast that which is good; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the faint-hearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honour everyone; love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.
Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God
The prayers and hymns in this Order of Service that are not acknowledged within the document are either written by Reverend Taff Morgan
or from the following sources;
Common Worship, Services and prayers fort the Church of England, Church House Publishing 2000
Common Worship, Pastoral Services, Church House Publishing 2000, second edition 2004
Elliott, Brian. CF; They shall grow not old; Liturgies for Remembrance; Canterbury Press 2006
New Patterns for Worship, Church House Publishing, 2002
Service for Remembrance Sunday © SPCK 1968, 1984