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Remembering and belonging

November is always a time for stopping and remembering.

We begin the month with the Feast of All Saints, whereby we remember all those who are Saints who have gone before us - not just the "named" saints who have their own feast day already, but all the unknown saints, the people who have given their lives rather than giving up their faith, the people whose lives have been an exemplary example of someone following Jesus, who are unknown to us but fully known to the Trinity.

The Feast of All Souls is for remembering those whom we love and see on this earth no longer.  We remember those who have died in the past year, and all those dear to us from years gone by.  People who may have not done any obvious courageous deed, apart from being a part of our lives and walking alongside us on our journeys for some of the way, as members of our families, as friends, as fellow companions on the pilgrimage of faith in Jesus.

November 5th and Bonfire Night has us remembering Guy Fawkes and his failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament.  In amongst the fireworks and treacle toffee, however, there is much more to remember than a failed terrorist attack on our government.  This event all took place in the lifetime of King James, who authorised the translation of the Bible into English, at the same time as William Shakespeare was writing his plays.  This is one day which gives us a chance to look back into the history of the British Isles and the Anglican Church.

Remembrance Sunday this year is on 8th November.  On Armistice Day itself, the 11th, we will all stop and fall silent for two minutes, to remember those who have given their lives for the freedom of others - some of whom volunteered and lied about their age to join up, some of whom did not want to go and fight, but still went because it was the only way they felt they could protect their families.  It reminds us of the continued need for greater understanding and cooperation between nations, as well as dialogue between groups and individuals.  The world still has its wars, we still have men and women giving their lives for the freedom of everyone else, and we still have those who would oppress their fellow man for their own gain.  Remembrance Sunday should always remind us to not just continually pray for peace but to pray for those who have been painted as being our enemies.

As we remember, we are looking at our own histories.  We are tracing the paths of where we come from, the events which have shaped our world and our lives.  We are looking at the very things which have brought us to this exact moment in time, this place, to be with these people.  In tracing our own path, we a reminded of where we belong - in this present time, in this place, with this particular group of people.  Sometimes it doesn't seem like we do belong somewhere, that we are merely passing through, but as we stop and look back we then may realise that we did belong and we did have to be at that point.

The poet John Maxwell Edmonds is credited with these lines:

When you go home, tell them of us and say

For their tomorrow, we gave our today.

For each of us to get to tomorrow, we have to give our today.  We remember.  We belong.  We are all beloved children of God.

Posted On: 02/11/2015

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