As we approach Remembrance Day Chris Poch, director of Artless Theatre Company who have produced To War With God, urges us to help children remember
To War With God is based on the true story of a chaplain in the First World War who experiences the horrors of war and has a crisis of faith. On his return he works alongside an evangelist who helps him rediscover his faith. The chaplain also gets involved in youth work and helps the young people work through difficult questions around faith and suffering.
Everyone will experience suffering and pain in their life and we shouldn’t shy away from these questions when it comes to children and young people. Of course, we have to do it in an age appropriate way, but these questions will come up. We don’t know all of the answers, but it gives us an opportunity to point to Jesus. We can talk about the fact that because the world is broken, there is suffering, but we have a God who comforts us and loves us.
On Remembrance Day, we remember that a lot of people died so that we can have the freedom that we have now and that’s important for young people to know.
Three ways that we can help children remember are firstly, to connect children with that time, because it can feel a long time ago – the First World War was over 100 years ago now. How can we try and make it feel personal to them? If there’s any family connections to the wars – not just those who fought in the wars, a lot of women were involved in the work effort, for example helping in munition factories – I think it helps children connect with something that feels so long ago if you can say: “Your great, great, great grandad fought in the First World War and we’re going to remember him.”
Secondly, visiting museums, memorials, places where it is easy to teach young people a bit more about these wars. That is what we are doing on Remembrance Day – remembering those who have fought and sometimes died in these wars – so it’s important that children can understand the history.
Lastly, many churches will be doing services for Remembrance Day, so let’s get involved in those services. There is a spiritual element to remembrance, recognising what Jesus did on the cross for us, sacrificing it all and how these service men and women have, in many cases, sacrificed their all.
Many people look to the church on Remembrance Day. People are looking for answers to the big questions about faith and suffering. They’re looking for comfort as well. It’s an amazing opportunity for the Church to be there for the community and to remember those who have sacrificed everything: “Greater love has no man than this – that he lay down his life for his friend.” It’s really important that we remember that.
To hear more from Chris Poch, listen here.