Reflection for the Month
From The Rectory . .
‘Remember, remember the fifth of November’. As a child, Bonfire Night was one of the most exciting days of the year. I have vivid memories of going to a local farm where a huge bonfire was lit. There were baked potatoes and hot dogs and treacle toffee to eat. The fireworks were mesmerising, and sometime during the evening we got to play hide and seek in what seemed to be a huge house complete with attics. My dad was a member of Round Table, and they really, really knew how to run a good bonfire night party.
But there’s a lot more remembrance in November than Bonfire Night. We start with the Feast of All Saints on the first of the month, though we usually ‘translate’ (i.e. move) it to the nearest Sunday, this year, by coincidence the 5th. All Saints commemorates the great Christians that have lived before us, those we look up to for inspiration. Among my favourites are St Peter, because he kept getting it wrong, but kept on trying; St Benedict, who wrote a rule of monastic life; and Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits who is brilliant on decision making and discernment.
The following day is the feast of All Souls, when we remember the more domestic saints, family members, friends and mentors, those who’ve been important in our lives. This feast is also often moved. So we held a memorial service at St Michael’s in late October, and remembered our loved ones through word, song and candle light.
Remembrance Sunday, when we remember all those who have died in wars, falls on 12 November this year. It’s always a bitter sweet occasion. We remember the courage and self-sacrifice of those who have died to protect our nation and our way of life, but we also mourn the need for war to solve international disputes, and we reflect on the ways of peace.
We conclude November with the Feast of Christ the King. And in the counter cultural world that Christians inhabit, our King wasn’t born in a palace, in pomp and majesty, but in a stable among domestic animals. He didn’t live in luxury, but tramped the dusty roads of Galilee, laying his head wherever there was room. He didn’t reign in great majesty, but was put to death in ignominy on the cross. However, that’s not the end, he rose again and now reigns at God’s right hand in glory. This is the King we follow, the Lord of all who loves absolutely everyone, but who has a particular place in his heart for the poor and the marginalised.
Every blessing during this season of remembrance.