A Mormon Liturgy for Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday is the second Sunday in November, the Sunday closest to Remembrance Day, which falls on November 11 every year. Each year my ward celebrates Remembrance Sunday with a peculiarly Mormon liturgy that is wonderful to experience.

That is not to say that the same readings, poems and/or stories are told each year in the same order, or the same hymns sung; rather, a liturgy for this day is prepared in advance along themes appropriate for the day. There are no talks but rather the meeting flows as printed on the program, with one reading or story or hymn following after another. Also, participation is not exclusive to subjects of the Queen — Americans and others from without the Commonwealth follow or precede Africans, Brits, New Zealanders, Canadians and others to give the readings. Our Remembrance Sunday this year proceeded as follows :

Conducting: Bishop K.T.

Opening Hymn: 78, God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand

Invocation: By Invitation

Stake/Ward Business: Bishop K.T. / Confirmation of Brother B.B.O.

Sacrament Hymn: 190, In Memory of the Crucified

Reading: Brother B.B.: Winston Churchill Exerpt

Reading: Sister C (Sister Missionary 1): Matthew 22:35-40

Reading: J.O. (Primary child): Articles of Faith 1:12

Reading: A.B. (YM): Matthew 24:3-8

Reading: Brother E.O.: 1 Nephi 12:12-15

Hymn: 193, I Stand All Amazed

Reading: Sister S.A.: Revelation 12:7-9

Reading: Brother A.M.: Alma 48:14

Reading: Elder D. (Elder Missionary 1): “The Soldier”

Reading: Brother P.S.: Doctrine & Covenants 45:4

Hymn: 194, There is a Green Hill Far Away

Reading: M.F. (Primary child): Mosiah 2:17 (memorized before church, read from pulpit due to slight jitters)

Reading: Brother C.B.: Alma 3:45-47

Reading: Sister F. (Sister Missionary 2): Doctrine & Covenants 138:31-35

Reading: Brother D.T.: Alma 46:12-13

Hymn: 341, God Save the Queen

Reading: Sister J.T.: Ether 12:12

Reading: Elder D. (Elder Missionary 2): “In Flanders Fields”

Reading: Sister L.S.: Articles of Faith 1:11

Closing Remarks: Bishop K.T.

Two minutes of silence

Closing Hymn: 152, God Be With You Till We Meet Again

Benediction: By Invitation

I look forward to Remembrance Sunday every year because I know our ward celebrates it in this way. The “liturgy” is a refreshing break from Sunday talks, even though the talks are usually enjoyable and uplifting. I think we should have a readings-based Sacrament Meeting about once a quarter. It mixes things up a little bit, allows us to dig into the scriptures and provides an opportunity for a greater number of people to participate in the Sacrament services.

We also have a readings-based “liturgical” Sacrament meeting the Sunday before Christmas. Easter would be the next logical choice and probably July 24 (I’m guessing many might at first think this isn’t a good idea but it seems like a good way for Latter-day Saints around the world to “remember how great things [God] has done for [their spiritual forebears]; for they were in bondage, and he has delivered them” (Mosiah 27:16) — this would be a Mormon-focused July 24, i.e. acknowledging and remembering the conclusion of the trek and finding shelter and security, and not a celebration of Utah). That would make four in a calendar year even though not strictly spaced out by quarters.

Comments

  1. Sounds like a beautiful service, John. I’m sure that this thoughtful variation from the normal meeting style is welcome and makes the occasion very special indeed.

  2. Hymn 341!

    John, this is wonderful. Please convey my warmest congratulations to Bishop KT for allowing a British-Mormon-Remembrance “liturgy” to bless your meeting on Sunday.

  3. Steve Evans says:

    Outstanding, John. Really great.

  4. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing this wonderful approach.

    At first I wanted to suggest not making this public because I was concerned some leaders might try to end this tradition in the same way apparently choose-your-favorite hymn Sacrament meetings were eliminated by the unwritten rule.

    But, my recollection is that the “liturgy” you describe is quite similar in pattern to a primary Sacrament meeting, and over the years I have seen many Christmas programs (and priesthood restoration or even YW Sacrament programs) follow a similar format.

    So I think it is safe.

  5. choose-your-favorite hymn sacrament meetings are alive and well, David H.

  6. This is very cool. Thanks, John.

  7. namakemono says:

    July 24? what is that commemorating?

  8. This is so beautiful, I have copied it and hope to be able to use a slightly altered version someday in a Sacrament meeting in the States.

  9. John F.–I cannot find a single thing not to love about this post.

    (Everyone, get your 72-hour-kits ready!)

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    Terrific line up.

    I love your idea of occasional “liturgical” readings-based sacrament meetings. I was asked one year to be in charge of the Christmas program and did something very much along these lines. It became a tradition in that ward for about three more years, and then there arose a Pharaoh that knew not Joseph and it petered out. Anyway, I really appreciate meetings like that.

  11. Jim Donaldson says:

    We did similar things for both Christmas and Easter (readings and music) for more than 10 years. It is the best. This was great too. But then, like Kevin, the pharoah thing…

  12. Glenn Smith says:

    A wonderful sacrament meeting idea! It’s great that wards are unique and have personalities. My ward straddles the US/Canada border. We celebrate Independence Day as fervently as we do Canada Day. Our Bishop was the keynote speaker at the local Remembrance Day service.

  13. I think this is a really excellent way of bringing the issue home. I was travelling and we had talks on Prophets. Then we sung the Battle Hymn of the Republic after the 2 minutes silence. I kinda felt uncomfortable singing about God killing the wicked. It reminded of the Bob Dylan sing ‘With God on their Side’.

    I am glad that the multiculturalism of your ward was respected.

  14. As long as it doesn’t really become Liturgy. There was a reason for that Restoration thing….

    Variation is a good thing, though. The programs can get a little tedious; that’s why I love the Primary Sacrament mtgs.

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