DAYS OF REMEMBRANCE
November has traditionally been a time of remembrance in church and community.
On All Saints’ Day (1st November), the saints of the past are remembered. Some of these are well known names: Peter, James, John, Augustine and so on. The Bible refers to all Christians as saints, so many of those who have been particularly good examples of living their faith are people whose names we will never know.
On All Souls’ Day (2nd November), we remember the faithful departed – those who have died. Normally in our benefice we would have a special service and tea for all those who want to remember someone close to them who is no longer with us. We read out the names of all those who have had funerals conducted in the past year and other we are specifically calling to mind and light candles in their memory.
Then there is Remembrance Sunday (variable date) and Armistice Day (11th November), when people gather in great numbers to recall and honour the sacrifices of those who have died in war and pledge themselves to working for a peaceful future.
This year the remembering will have to take a different form because of restrictions concerning gatherings. We will still remember but it may be behind closed doors or with smaller groups of people than is usual. Marking these occasions is important and we can still do that but will need to think creatively about how this might be done.
I wonder how we’ll remember 2020 in future years. For many it has been a time of disruption. For some it’s been a period of isolation or despair; for others of fear and anxiety. But we also have the power to make good memories. As I write this I can think of the joy of seeing rainbows and window displays; the abundance of nature and the way in which the quiet of lockdown helped birds and animals enjoy wider freedoms; the hordes of volunteers in our benefice and across the country supporting their communities; the creativity with which people reached out to the lonely, hungry and struggling; the generosity of those who gave to Coronavirus funds, food banks and so on.
We have two months left. Perhaps we could use them to try and make some positive memories for this year when there has been so much sadness and pain.