At the beginning of November our thoughts probably turn to bonfires and fireworks. Many of us probably remember chanting the rhyme:
“Remember, remember the fifth of
November, gunpowder, treason and plot!
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot!”
The rhyme is of course talking about the plot by Guy Fawkes to blow up Parliament over 400 years ago. After recent events (and I am writing this when Parliament is in the news almost every day) many people will think it is still worth celebrating the fact that parliament survived this plot. Others might wish that the plotters had succeeded!
Whatever our feelings about Parliament, it is always important to remember the past. And in November, of course, it’s not only on the fifth of the month that we remember the past but also on the eleventh, when our thoughts turn to all those who served and suffered in war time. Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives, others lost limbs or underwent immense psychological stress that still remains to this day in Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Bonfire night and Remembrance Sunday are both events celebrated at a national, as well as a village and personal level. But in our village the month also begins with a very personal remembrance, as we have our ‘All Souls’ service of Remembrance in church. Here we gather to remember those members of our family and friends who have died, particularly those whom we have lost this year. We remember them before God as we hear their names and light candles which continue to burn after we have left the church, as symbols of our continuing thoughts and of the light of God that continues to shine over them and us even though we are now separated.
Remembering the past is important to us as human beings and as Christians. The central act of worship for many Christians centres around remembering a meal that Jesus had with his disciples. Whether it is called ‘holy communion’ to emphasise it is a meal we share in community, or ‘Eucharist’, which means ‘thanksgiving’, or ‘Mass’ which relates to the idea that through it God sends us out on a ‘mission’ to do his work, it is both an act of remembrance and of future promise and hope that one day we will all share a meal together in God’s kingdom.
That reminds us that remembering should always be more than dwelling only on the past, and should certainly not be seen as wallowing in nostalgia. As we remember past events, such as the Gunpowder Plot and the World Wars, we also remember to make the most of our freedom and democracy.
And as we remember those we have lost we also remember that one day we will be re-united with them as we enter God’s kingdom where we have been promised that mourning will cease and our tears will be wiped away. Whatever and whoever you remember at this time of year, I pray that God’s light will shine on and through your memories and give you hope for the future.
The Rector, Reverend Sarah Corry, can be contacted on 01474 852265, or use our contact form.
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