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All Saints’ Church Lawton
Sharing the Love of 
Jesus in our Community

 

A letter from Steve - Our Rector

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering together

 

November is a time of remembering.  We gather together at the beginning of the month to celebrate All Saints and All Souls tide – remembering that we are not alone as Christians here and now, but we are surrounded by a great cloud of saints in glory.  I find this encouraging in the work and mission God has given us, to know that we are continuing in a great tradition of Christian saints down the ages.

 

We are remembering those we have loved and lost in our Memorial Service too.  Everyone who has lost a loved one is invited to come together, to hear their names read out, and to light a candle in their memory.  I believe it’s an important part of the healing and grieving process to come back to Church in an act of remembrance like this, surrounded by friends and family members, to say thank you and to remember.

 

And of course, on 11th November, and on Remembrance Sunday the nation will commemorate those who have died in the service of this country, to defend our homes, and to bring peace and safety around the world.  

This year has seen increasing numbers of terror attacks in our country – and violence, injury and death come very close to home here in the North-West.

In World War 2 people knew what to do when an air raid was imminent.  A piercing alarm would sound across the housetops and that was a signal to head for shelter – even if it was just a makeshift bunker in the garden.  With the warning of the siren you could usually reach them in time.  

 

Today’s enemies are less predictable.  We call them terrorists because they strike terror at any time, anywhere and without notice. Holidaymaker's in Nice, sightseers in Barcelona, concert goers in Manchester, are fair game to the perpetrators.  This feels like a different kind of war, though we are not sure why we are the targets.  All we know is that they are idealists, believing they are serving a higher cause, with a vision of a different world which can be established only through violence.  They strike without warning.

 

These terrorists seem willing, even eager, to give their own lives for the cause, so no punishment is likely to deter them.  It is a sobering thought that democracy, freedom of choice, a welfare state and our way of life, have all been rejected by terrorists.  As we pause and remember, we need to hold in our minds those affected across Europe in terror attacks, and the countless thousands more affected in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in daily suffering we tend to forget.  We remember them too.

The two minutes silence is a familiar act of remembrance. We can use the silence to reflect on those who have suffered in war or on what it means to work for a peaceful world.

Victor Frankl, a victim of Auschwitz, suggested that the most intolerable of all human conditions is not imprisonment or hunger, but lack of meaning. The two minutes silence enables us to connect with Jesus’ message, which offers true meaning to our lives and our world.

 

Jesus spoke of giving ourselves in love for each other and the world, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you’ (Matthew 5:44). He also demonstrated such love in sacrificing His own life, ‘Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13).

In observing the silence, perhaps we can use it to reflect on this sacrificial love, as we remember all those who have experienced pain and conflict, on all sides, around the world.

 

Of course, we should be serious about silence and stillness in the whole of our lives, not just for two minutes at an act of Remembrance. Jesus made a habit of withdrawing to experience silence and to commune with God – maybe that’s something we can do too.

Remembering and communing come together in this poem by Daphne Kitching, that brings us back to Christ, whom we encounter in Holy Communion and renews our hope:
 

We remember, while we live,
We who breathed with them.
Photographs and anecdotes hold meaning now,
But our children's children will see only
Images in boxes,
Flat and far-away strangers.

And those who lived and loved,
Who fought and died,
And those who stayed at home and soldiered on
And bravely to their pillows cried,
Will we remember them, as November claims,
Or just the sadness of that list of names?

A different remembering there is,
A re-enactment, a continuing
Through past, present, and future of his gift.
Linking lives of faithful witness.
In this remembering we live, who believe,
Knowing the love poured out for us.

Christ died, is risen and will return,

Do this in remembrance of me
Do this in remembrance of me

We will eat,
We will drink,
Living our remembering in love
Until he comes.