Last Sunday we remembered the saints (All Saints Day) and then Monday was All Soul’s Day when traditionally we remember those who have died. This weekend and through to the 11th, we remember those servicemen and women who have died in war.
Yesterday (5th November) we “remember, remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot” though most of us are not quite sure what it is we remember. It was a plot to blow up Parliament (and the King) with a massive explosion but the plot was discovered. Terror attacks are not something new
This year we remember probably what we would normally do, as we cope with further restrictions.
Memories are a mix of thanksgiving and sadness, and in some cases of relief.
Memory is at the heart of Christian Faith. Our creeds state who we believe God to be, but they also remember Jesus, remember his life, death and resurrection. Our worship includes remembering the stories of God’s people from Abraham through to St Paul, and particularly the stories of Jesus and his life. Our sacrament at its heart has these words – “Do this in remembrance of me”.
And the metaphor of memory is helpful as we try and grasp that God remembers us. The literal high-point of the Noah Flood-narrative (ch 8 v1) has these words – “And God remembered Noah”. At the height of the flood and the chaos, God remembered Noah.
God does not forget us and even in the difficulties we should not forget God.
We should remember our world at this time, we should remember with deep sorrow and anguish the war-torn areas, and we should remember our Armed Forces and their leaders, and those who fought for the freedoms of this country in previous wars – “lest we forget”. Our world today is still divided and we cannot take peace or freedoms for granted.
We should also remember our loved ones, family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, those who have died recently or maybe many years ago, those who are special to us. We are not just one among millions – each person is special to God, and we are made to be in families and communities.
And so we should also remember those who are bearing the heavier loads at the moment – we should remember, and pray for, our schools, our Health Service and all who are working for the good health of others; we should remember and pray for our politicians, and pray for the safety of leaders and people against terror attacks and all forms of violence.
We should remember, pray for and look out for, the more vulnerable and isolated and fragile, those who will find the coming weeks more difficult.
And we should remember the saints – the special exemplary people – who inspire us, and they were not perfect but they demonstrated something we hold of worth.
And in the uncertainty, the difficulty and the limitations we should remember to pray, for in prayer we join with the God who remembered Noah, who does not forget us. As the thief on the Cross said to Jesus – “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom”.
Rev’d Peter Reiss: 6th Nov 2020