St Bartholomew and All Saints

Royal Wootton Bassett

Do this in remembrance of me…

November is a time for remembering it seems.

 ‘Remember remember the fifth of November’ goes the rhyme.

We are reminded at this early stage in the month of a turbulent time in our national history: sectarian disputes in the Seventeenth Century, leading to the Gunpowder Plot.  

Yet these days Bonfire Night is a joyful time of gathering together with family and friends

to light fires against the dark night sky, to drink hot drinks and warm chilled hands in the

Autumnal weather, and to light fireworks which excite and amaze

 the gathered crowds below.

This gradual shift, from terror to friendly gatherings, reminds us of a central passage of scripture often read at another and perhaps more poignant ‘remembering’ event in November - Remembrance Sunday, which this year marks 100 years since the end of the First World War:

they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,

   and their spears into pruning-hooks;

nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

   neither shall they learn war any more.

(Isaiah 2: 4)

Here we are reminded of God’s faithfulness and desire for peace amongst the nations. God has called us to come together in unity to celebrate the good things we have received, and to look forward to a time when there is no longer conflict and sin amongst God’s children.

Christians are called regularly to ‘remember’ during the Eucharistic service as well. In the liturgy we hear the words of Jesus, first described by St. Paul:

“This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying,

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.”

(1 Corinthians 11: 24-25).

Ever since that Passover meal celebrated by Christ himself, Jesus’ followers have gathered together to remember him and the sacrifice made for us upon the cross, while sharing his bread and his cup. We continue to do this here at St. Bartholomew’s Church at least four times each week, with additional prayer services every day.

In his letter to the Corinthians Paul goes on to implore the followers of Jesus to care for one another, treating all as equals, and remembering always that we are all different but vital parts of the one body of Christ on earth.

As we enter this season of remembering, may we continue to remember Jesus on the cross, and God’s desire for unity, mutual love, and peace, amongst all of God’s children.

Rev’d Oliver Blease