Dear Friends and Parishioners
The clocks have changed, and in the wonderful way of the Church, as the physical world goes into longer periods of darkness, spiritually we enter the Season of Light. During November we are reminded that our faith in Jesus Christ takes us beyond the darkness of death into the glorious light of sharing in our Saviour’s resurrection.
On 1st Nov the Church remembers its faithful servants of past generations with All Saint’s Day on 1st November. This is the day when we hold before God those unknown or unnamed Christians who do not have a ‘special holy day’ of their own as individuals. This feast dates from the eighth century when Gregory III dedicated a chapel to ‘All the Saints’ on this day. The following illustration from David Adam serves to remind us of the Christian character that these unnamed saints reflected in their lives. A man came to a minister and said, ‘I would like to become a Christian’. The minister asked the man what had prompted this decision; had he read a book or heard a sermon or had there been some life changing event? The man was rather embarrassed, he didn’t read much and hardly ever went to church. ‘It’s my boss’ he said, ‘we are all a tough bunch of men but he deals with us with care, honesty and fairness. I wanted to know why he was like that and he told me he was a Christian. If that is what a Christian is like then I want to be one too.’ The best advertisement for God and for our faith is the way we live and witness to what we believe.
Perhaps, we will recognise some those Christian traits as we also remember loved ones who have died. This year our All Soul’s Service will be on Sunday 27th October, a little earlier than usual. This feast day is normally held on 2nd November and is a time for us to thank God for those whom we love but see no more in this earthly life. It is the point of the year when our hope and faith in the resurrection guide us through the dark night of grief and give us strength to turn to the future.
Although the spectre of war has not left the world completely, on Remembrance Sunday we will rejoice in the peace that has prevailed in our nation for the past seventy four years. This year the theme of our service will be ‘Remembering Together’. This will include those people from the Commonwealth Nations, the Secret Services, Resistance Organisations and all civilians caught up in the world wars.
This is indeed a poignant time of year. The darkness of human activity can threaten to overwhelm us unless we remember all those who rose above such evil and cruelty and led us into lighter and brighter times. In these three services we see how the righteousness of God radiates through the lives of His faithful people for the benefit of a wider society. Whether we think of individuals dear to us, those who died long ago or more recently, or those who experienced war or peace, we will remember them with affection and honour. I do hope you will join with us and make these services communal acts of worship and respect.
Prayers and blessings