Remembrance

WELCOME!

Thank you for your interest in the work of SASRA. We are now in our 181st year of supporting the men and women of our Armed Services. Times change, threats and equipment change, but the human condition and the gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ remain unchanged. Our great privilege is to share the good news of Jesus Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection, all of which make our salvation glorious possible, with those who need a sure and certain hope for now and for eternity.

Acts of remembrance around the anniversary of Armistice Day each year give us the opportunity to remember both those who have given so much in defence of our freedoms, and to point others to the One who gave Himself to provide peace with God and the fullest and most glorious freedom for people – the freedom to enjoy a life-giving relationship with our Creator through Jesus Christ. Our website will tell you more about our gospel work, and includes an on-line shop and details of how you can support and get involved with the work of SASRA.

Thank you for your visit. If we can help in any way, or provide you with any further details of our work please do contact us.

With warm Christian greetings,

Andrew Hill
Executive Director

Thoughts for Remembrance Day
By SASRA Army Scripture Reader
Gavin Dickson

 

There is a saying in the Army when someone dies: ‘We’ll see him at the Re-Org’.

Re-Org stands for Re-Organisation, and for the soldier it is a short time after a battle where ammunition is counted and redistributed, and casualties are numbered and dealt with. It is a time to catch breath and get ready for the next battle, which might come at any moment. However, when a soldier dies and his colleagues declare ‘we’ll see you at the Re-Org’ it speaks of a full rest, a time when there are no more battles to be fought, no need for the mundane things that normally happen in a Re-Org, but rather ‘It is finally over, it is finished’.

Being a man who trusts in the Lord Jesus to get me to this final ‘Re-Org’ I am usually surprised by those who use it. The hardened atheist will use it and mean it. I have had many conversations with members from my former Battalion, the Scots Guards, where my friends have berated me that ‘there is no God’ or that ‘your God must be very evil’. Many think I am stupid for believing in the afterlife. ‘We are but dust,” they say, or ‘science has disproved God’. Yet the heartfelt utterance: ‘I’ll see you at the Re-Org big man,’ shows that, at that moment in time, they really do believe in this unreal ‘Re-Org’!

I served in the Army completing 13 years in an infantry Battalion. I spent much of my time away from the UK, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and travelling widely. I loved the army life, loved the bond of brotherhood, and the adventure that the army brought me is something I shall cherish. It is also true to say that it was not easy. There were hard times in the Army, and that is why on the 11th of November each year we gather to remember those who have given their lives for our nation.

Sadly, during my service I saw many of my friends die. Last year I wrote a list of them; it was longer than I had expected. One name in particular escaped me and I had to call an old colleague to remind me. This made me sad as it was coming up for Remembrance Day and I had failed to remember the sacrifice this young man had made for others. I felt as I added him to my ever growing list that I had failed to remember that his life mattered. It is important we remember those who have given their life in service as it reminds us of all those that still serve and of what we ask them to do for us today.

2016 marked 100 years since the Battle of the Somme, and in Catterick Garrison we marked it by rising at 0500hrs (5 am) to attend the Remembrance Service, standing in the Infantry Training Centre drill square with three thousand soldiers. The whistles blew and the machine gun let rip. Bang, Bang, Bang! went the mortars, and all this so that we too might feel something of what those who went over ‘the top’ felt. Then followed the reading of letters from those that were soon to go over the top, letters to those back home waiting for their return. These men, "our boys," did not end with “see you soon”, but with grim realism they wrote ‘goodbye’. One letter writer asked the question, ‘where will I be; my body will be lying over there but where will I be?’ I was moved by the whole service which made sure each and every man and women asked that question to themselves, ‘Where will I be in the end?’

The young men and women recruits today joining the army are met straight away with ‘this is how it is: this is how you dress, wash, polish your boots, this is the right way, and you will be on the right side of the rules’. In the same way they need to know objective, spiritual truth. They need to know that there is a God in Heaven, a just and merciful God. They need to know that the final ‘Re-Org’ they hear of is reached only through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. We as a nation ask them to be ready to give their lives for us, so it is only right that they should hear the glorious good news of Jesus Christ.

As an Army Scripture Reader in Edinburgh I am able to present the claims of Jesus to our military. I speak with soldiers and airmen where they are, in the barracks on their own turf. I don’t tell them what I think, but rather what the Bible makes clear to us; not what I would like to be true, but the reality that the final Re-Org is only attainable through Jesus Christ. I am so thankful to God that such a ministry as SASRA exists, whose mission is ‘personal evangelism among the forces’ - we are deeply concerned for the spiritual welfare of our soldiers and airmen.

“We Shall Remember Them” applies not just to those who fought and died in World War II or Afghanistan, but continues for our troops in all that they face today. We who are called, beloved and kept for Christ (Jude 1) long to see our soldiers brought safe into the final ‘Re-Org’ of Heaven by the proclamation of the good news of Christ.

Army Scripture Reader Gavin Dickson serves with the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association (SASRA), a Christian Mission to our Military which has been proclaiming the gospel since 1838. If you would like to know about our vital Christian ministry please contact us at:

Phone – 03000 301 302
Email – remembrance@sasra.org.uk
Web – www.sasra.org.uk/remembrance

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