Today is Armistice Day. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the armistice was signed and peace was declared to mark the end of the Great War. Around the world today, and on Remembrance Sunday tomorrow, people will mark this moment in different ways, and take an opportunity to remember.
The Great War was the first truly global conflict, and its toll of human suffering was immense. Sadly, it proved to be just the first of a number of pan-global conflicts through the 20th century (although we officially count only two). Now, once more, after an almost unparalleled period of peace in our region of the world, the shadow of war looms far closer – which makes it all the more important to treasure peace, now that we have daily images on our screens and news feeds which remind us what war is really like. ‘Lest we forget,’ is a common phrase used at this time of year, and rightly so.
As we conclude our short series on remembering, today’s Psalm also points us towards a global act of remembering. This act is also birthed in costly sacrifice, as God’s chosen one is ‘poured out like water’ (v14) and pierced in hands and feet (v16). Though the psalm never reveals the reason for this, Psalm 22 has come to represent a hugely significant prophecy of the Messiah, one that Jesus himself cries out a thousand years later, on the very cross which pierced his own hands and feet.
Yet through this sacrifice comes victory. Not in a physical battle but a spiritual one. The one who is sacrificed is then exalted (v29), people will serve this Saviour (v30) and generations to come will praise him, rejoicing in his victory (v31).
This act will be so significant that ‘all will remember…’ (v27). All will remember… what? The Lord. There will be a global turning to God, as people seek the Lord (v26), and recognise his power in the affairs of the world (v28). The sacrifice of the Son achieves something permanent and glorious – and still today, the church declares to anyone ready to listen: ‘He has done it!’ (v31).
So today, and tomorrow, let us remember. Let us remember the sacrifices of so many. Let us remember those who continue to pay the price of war and violence. Let us remember the value of peace, and what it costs to maintain it.
And let us also remember the greater peace won by our Lord. Let us remember what God has done, and that we are now part of a great global movement for the restoration of all things. Let us recommit ourselves to the path of divine peace, won at such a cost.
‘Those who seek the Lord will praise him… Posterity will serve him…. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn: He has done it!’ Amen.