As a child I remember vividly the rhyme, Remember Remember the 5th of November. As a family we all gathered together to go to an organised firework display, which we rounded up by having a special feast at my mothers house. The menu usually consisted of baked potatoes with many different toppings along with mother’s special stew. Wrapped in our winter clothes for warmth Bonfire night was one of happy memories. Sometimes we can loose sight of the real meaning and the cost of such occasions when we are celebrating!
The month of November is without doubt a time of remembrance. Firstly is All Saints day, where we remember and celebrate the lives of all Christians who have died in a state of grace. It is also the day when we as a Benefice hold our annual Memorial Service where we remember with the families, the loved ones that have recently gone to join the saints (1st November). Let us not forget the pain of those recently bereaved.
Then there is Remembrance Sunday itself (15th November) when we remember those who sacrificed their lives so that we might live in peace and freedom. Our freedom came at the great sacrifice of so many. November is month that can stir up both sad and yet beautiful memories for so many of us.
An image that I find helpful when trying to make some sense of loss in the season of remembering is the Autumn leaves. They are so beautiful and colourful as they gently fall to the ground, which reminds me of our beautiful memories of loved ones. The landscape alters, just as our lives are altered. The fallen Autumn leaves make a luxurious rich carpet of colour, just as our lives have been enriched with colour by those we have loved. The changing season, like life itself reminds me of the many changes we face in our daily lives. Some good and some painful.
The leaves don’t fall from the trees for nothing, each year there is regeneration as the trees burst into new life. Christ our Lord burst into new life at the resurrection, and each of us in our remembering can be certain that whatever we face, whether it is in looking back (remembering),or the present, or what we have to face in the future, I know with certainty that the peace of God that passes all our understanding upholds us and that God himself walks with us.
May the season of remembering bring you both comfort and hopefulness.
Rev. Eileen Doyle