The season of Remembrance this year is rendered especially poignant by the passing of her late majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. As the nation stops to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of ‘Queen and country’, displaying all the core values of commitment, courage, discipline, respect, integrity and loyalty, our thoughts turn naturally to the late monarch, who was not only the head of the British Armed Forces but also embodied these same core values to an unusually transcendent degree.
Particularly important to the Queen was her sense of service of something greater than herself, and particularly her Lord and Master, ‘whom to serve is perfect freedom’.
For many Christians, Remembrance is also a time of year when we remember him who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. The old poem says, ‘For your tomorrow, we gave our today’ – how much more is this true of the Lord Jesus Christ!
For the Scripture Readers of SASRA, the Soldiers’ and Aviators’ Scripture Readers Association, Remembrance is another opportunity to share with the young people of our Armed Forces that sacrificial love of Christ.
2022 has been an intense year for the British military, with ceremonial duties during the time of national mourning and the state funeral following hard upon heightened emotions and activity surrounding the conflict in Ukraine. Many troops have been ‘on exercise’ in Eastern Europe in support of NATO operations.
As we pause this November to remember those who have died, it is worthwhile also to take time not to forget those still serving – young men and women, many of them teenagers or in their early 20s, who stand ready for whatever might lie ahead. 2022 has been a year of uncertainty, fear, frustration, and angst. The contrasting emotions that are a natural part of military life only serve to amplify the spiritual need of these young people.
It is in this context that SASRA’s Scripture Readers take the hope of Jesus to a generation that know nothing of him. It is our earnest desire that every member of the British Army and Royal Air Force should have a chance to hear the gospel during their time in uniform.
SASRA Scripture Readers have an extraordinary access to the military community to share the gospel and the hope of Christ, but they truly can’t do it without you. This season of Remembrance, as the national attention turns once again to the military community, consider how YOU can get involved to support SASRA’s mission. In the days running up to Remembrance Sunday, we invite you to join in SASRA’s 11 days of Remembrance. Request a copy of our Daily Devotional booklet (firstname.lastname@example.org or 03000 301 302), invite a friend over for coffee, and read together of the work of the Scripture Readers. If your church doesn’t have a SASRA Advocate, consider whether you could be our point of contact for sharing news and prayer needs with your congregation.
Most of all, ‘pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honoured’ (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
By John Surtees, SASRA Lead Communications Officer
Soldiers have learnt that they can trust me and are comfortable to get in touch – one such example was a soldier who emailed me to ask for a copy of Saint John’s Gospel and a military Bible. ASR Gavin Dickson
A soldier who attended the evangelistic talk that we organised last December says that it got him thinking seriously about the things of God. I am now meeting with him and another soldier over Zoom each week for a Bible study. They are hungry to know more! ASR Josh Fortune
The workshops I run have become very popular very quickly. I challenge people on where they find hope and spiritual resilience before sharing about my faith. This soft approach leads to deeper conversations. ASR Steve Curley
I had a wonderful opportunity to speak with a soldier, who asked, "How do you become a Christian?" I shared that being a Christian is about having a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and trusting him for salvation.
This was all new to her and I was able to share my own testimony of how as a young soldier on guard duty, I came to put my trust in Christ. She thanked me for my time and accepted some literature. ASR Paul Somerville