November 2021 Magazine Letter
‘Remember, remember the fifth of November….’
…….a familiar chant of childhood excitement before bonfire night. ‘November’ and ‘remember’ have a pleasing rhyme to them and stir our consciousness that November marks a time for remembering: the season of Remembrance.
Diaries reveal religious, personal and state occasions for both remembering and Acts of Remembrance:
Monday, November 1st All Saints’ Day: the church remembers holy women and men who have marked the way of faith.
Tuesday, November 2nd All Souls’ Day: we remember those who have died
Thursday, November 11th Armistice Day: commemoration of the end of fighting in World War 1
Sunday, November 14th Remembrance Sunday: dedicated to Services of Remembrance
So what is the relationship between ‘remembering and ‘remembrance’?
We are always so keen to cling to good times with photo albums or unwieldy collections of digitally stored photos! When we go on holiday, we buy mementoes of happy times: my tea towel drawer bears witness to this. Joyful acts of remembrance.
But what about those times when we remember but it hurts? When a date, a season of the year, or our mood when we wake up, makes us shrivel inside or be overflowing with an emotion too huge to contain?
One of the ways faith underpins my life is that the Bible does not shirk from articulating these times:
‘How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long’ Psalm 13
An act of remembrance may help to still our emotions, to calm the tumult inside, strengthen us for the next time we are assailed. A favourite walk, a treasured object, time in the garden, a piece of music can give us space to acknowledge and process our feelings and allow them to settle.
November is a season to think of dear ones who have died. But since the start of the pandemic, many of us have faced other losses: cancelled celebrations, gatherings with friends and families, travel, convivial work or study places, visits to sport or arts events. We bear the scars of coping. We all have our own lockdown losses and grieve for them and for those experienced by our loved ones.
Grief is a tiring business.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11 v28-30
Whatever you are mourning, during November give yourself space to recognise this. You are welcome to visit the church to sit, light a candle, or take a walk around the churchyard. The church building has comforted many generations before us.
God’s peace and reassurance touch us at all times and in all places: may it be your experience this November, the season of Remembrance.
With my best wishes,