Wednesday is Remembrance Day. I grew up hearing of the pain and loss of the First World War front lines, like many with a family linked to France’s murky trenches.
My children can say they have two great-great grandfathers buried at Flanders on their mother’s side, and a great-great grandad who died later due to mustard gas.
People found ways to stay connected while being separated by war, distance, and time zones. One such group was the “The Order of the Ginger Knut.”
A group of active young men from Liverpool who, before they departed for the chaos of Europe, decided to walk the fells of Cumbria, climb the peaks and no doubt enjoy a few pints of beer on a walking holiday.
It was on this holiday that the young men devised a moving ritual. While walking and talking, they created a kind of cookie communion, in which they would break a small ginger cookie (biscuit) and place it on their tongue.
Soon enough, the boys were enlisted and scattered. But the boys vowed to continue their Ginger cookie tradition each Sunday evening wherever they were; they would eat and remember. They wanted to stay connected and needed a way to feel close to each other,
Their local church magazine continued to write their handwritten articles monthly. In one piece, both the community and the boys on service were encouraged, for an hour, every Sunday evening to keep each other in their thoughts and prayers. The paper even included a ginger cookie to break and dissolve on the tongue while remembering.
A powerful story of connection while distanced, of remembering one another in ordinary ways in extraordinary times.
As we step into this week of remembrance, thinking of those servicemen and women who gave up so much for our freedom let us learn the many lessons. Let us value rituals of faith, building rhythm, and habit into our lives as the pain of pandemic separates us. Let us find ways to think and pray for family members across our country and beyond, remembering relatives who are in care homes and friends who are in hospital unable to have visits.
In the Gospel of John Chapter 13 verse 36, we read of Jesus speaking of a new commandment, a new community that was marked by love.
“By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
The “Order of the Ginger Knut" captures the heart of community, remembrance, and true Christian love. Let us create moments of love and connection through the weeks and months to come.
Phil Collins is pastor at Willow Park Church in Kelowna.