And then there is Remembrance Sunday, when we remember
the countless lives destroyed in the service of their country.
We remember with sorrow – we remember with gratitude too.
They gave their todays in order to safeguard our tomorrows;
and indeed continue to do so in parts of the world today.
November is the month for remembering.
In the next few days some of us might be going to a bonfire and firework party – a fun reminder for most, if not for our pets, of the plot some 400 years ago to blow up the Royal Family and Parliament.
But November is an important month of remembrance for the church as well. November 1st is All Saints’ Day, when we remember those heroes of the faith whose images fill our stained glass windows and feast days clutter up the church’s calendar. And November 2nd is All Souls’ Day, a day traditionally set aside to remember the faithful departed, and especially our own departed loved ones.
As I said, it’s the month for remembering. But then remembering is no bad thing. I recall once asking a group of primary school children why it’s good to remember, and they came up with several really good reasons. First of all, remembering can be useful. Without committing to memory our seven times table, for example, it’s going to take us a while to work out that, if there are about 8 more weeks to go to Christmas, then we have about 56 shopping days left.
Our memories also help us learn. We learn from remembering the mistakes we’ve made. If Remembrance Sunday is all about remembering the sacrifice of so many for their country, the millions of lives lost in conflict, then isn’t it also something to do with reminding ourselves of the awfulness and the waste of warfare, so that we might not rush into it again?
And finally we find encouragement in our memories. The Saints - those men and women who caught something of the glory of God’s kingdom, who lived lives focused upon God and his will for the world – the saints are called to mind annually to encourage and inspire us in our own Christian faith and journey. If they could do it, so can we.
Part of our Christian faith is about looking back to what God has done for us in the past. By doing this we are helped to go forward, confident in the future. So may all our remembering be for us – supplying strength to move forward, thankful, encouraged and inspired.
And so on Sunday 3rd November we invite you to…
Our All Together Service for All Saints Sunday at 10am,
with Holy Communion and a chance to think about the saints and saintly living.
And a Service of Commemoration of the Departed at 3pm.
We will be giving thanks for the lives of our departed loved ones, and praying for
all those who have died and for all who mourn their loss.
Then on Sunday 10th November we invite you to…
The Royal British Legion’s Remembrance Day Service at 2.45pm.
We will be remembering with thanksgiving and sorrow those whose lives,
in world wars and conflict past and present, have been given and taken away.
And at 7.30pm that same evening St Bartholomew’s Choir and friends
will be singing Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, to which all are welcome.