November is often see as a month in which we remember, All Saints Day, ‘Remember, remember the 5th of November…’, Remembrance Day, USA Thanksgiving Day and this year the first Sunday in Advent. So we remember the wonderful saints who have been and are part of our Christian journey, those folk who introduced us to Jesus those who have gently nurtured and maybe corrected us on our way. Those who inspire us in the faith in Christ they exude.
We remember specific events in history albeit that the fifth of November for me is more about remembering wonderful childhood memories of bonfire nights, sparklers and fireworks, homemade treacle toffee and potatoes burnt to a cinder in the embers of the bonfire.
Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday are very poignant and important for me because it invokes so many feelings and is a time where we come together to commemorate and give thanks for the sacrifice of many. The slogan ‘Lest we forget’ gives meaning to the continuation of Remembrance. I also have fond memories of watching the Festival of Remembrance from the Royal Albert Hall with my dad and hearing him whistle along to the RAF March Past, which means even more since his death last year [I have just listened to the tune again and it brought me to tears].
Sharing Thanksgiving Day with our American friends and especially the wonderful Thanksgiving meal Elisa and Randy used to organise at Bilton, with some wonderful red, white and blue costumes and even one member dressed as a turkey. The beautiful spiritual moment where the eating and chatting stopped and one by one going round the room we were asked to share one thing that we were thankful for.
And in all this it leads to Advent when we prepare and remember the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We remember the saints because of Jesus, we remember the most important time in the history of the world when God became Emmanuel – God with us in Jesus. We remember all who have gone before in the fight for justice and peace and we remember and give thanks for all whom Jesus has brought us into contact with, especially his church.
Even in the last five years over here in ‘God’s second county’, I have created so many fond memories and hope to create many more. Precious times we have shared in our journey together, some profoundly deep spiritual moments and some moments filled with laughter and some with tears, where I have found love as the bedrock to the faith of both churches.
Praise God for this time to remember and time to look forward with renewed vision and purpose, knowing ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever’ Hebrews 13.8 and our hope in an ever changing church and world.
Your friend and servant,