A hymn for Remembrance Sunday

Poppies to remember
lives laid down in war -
hopes and bodies broken,
wounds forever raw.
Red and white and purple
tell of what's been lost,
summon us to silence
as we count the cost.

REFRAIN
Help us to remember
now and every day
sacrifice and service,
Lord of life, we pray.

“Do this to remember,”
Jesus tells his friends;
by his death securing
life that never ends.
Broken like his body,
bread on which we dine;
blood that's shed for us
recalled again in wine.

REFRAIN
Help us to remember...

Jesus, we remember
this the debt we owe;
and we pledge our service,
that the world may know
all that leads to freedom,
all that makes for peace.
Let your Kingdom come, Lord!
Let all bloodshed cease!

REFRAIN
Help us to remember...

Words © Dominic Grant, September 2010

Metre: 65.65.D. with refrain

Suggested tunes: St Gertrude (H&P 718). Alternatively, the refrain may be omitted and the hymn sung to Evelyns (StF 317 ii; H&P 74 i)

For use at an all-age communion service for Remembrance Sunday. Notes on the colours and significance of the poppies mentioned in verse 1 can be found at The Royal British Legion / Peace Pledge Union / Animal Aid. (NB Animal Aid no longer sell purple poppies, for reasons they explain, but they can be obtained through the War Horse Memorial website and elsewhere.)

Asked about the possible ommission of verse 2 when Holy Communion is not being celebrated, Dominic writes: "I think I'd be uncomfortable with omitting v.2 entirely: partly because I always feel a 2-verse hymn feels rather short(!); but more significantly because doing so would skew our remembrance of "this the debt we owe" (v.3) far more towards casualties of war than towards the person and work of Jesus Christ. A balance between these objects of remembrance (or better, remembering wartime sacrifice through the lens of remembering Christ's sacrifice) was really my intention in writing the hymn."

Note from author:
Feel free to reprint this hymn for one-off, or occasional, non-profit use. Please let me know if you do so (revdsgrant@gmail.com), and remember to credit the author!