“Remember, remember…” that’s what November seems to be about these days doesn’t it? Remembering the attempt to blow up the houses of Parliament by a group of angry men with the aim of destroying the Protestant monarchy and re-establishing a Catholic king. If they had succeeded it would have changed our history but instead they all met a sticky end – hung drawn and quartered mainly. We remember that non-event with fireworks and bonfires – sometimes I think it’s just an excuse for a party.
Later in the month we remember something closer to home the effects of war on the lives of those caught up in it, we remember those who have died in conflicts since the First World War, those who have suffered through injuries and their families and communities. But it should also remind us of the damage caused by war and make us want to seek peace in our world. We seem spectacularly bad at achieving that, especially now, as the conflict is between ideologies rather than countries. It’s not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination, we would be naïve to believe that it is. We can do our bit to ensure that the world around us is as peaceful and positive as possible. But even that seems difficult sometimes doesn’t it?
We hear so much about living in the present. That the past is past, the future is unknown – so what we have is now. I agree with that but surely we can learn from the past and the legacies we have been left – good and bad.
This year the world’s political situations seem to be dominating the news. Fireworks are going off all over the place and not in a good way. We see refugees fleeing countries that have lost control and have forgotten somehow to look after all their people. We see the destruction of Aleppo and many other places where it has been forgotten that many people, including children, live in conditions of destruction that we can only imagine. We see migrants risking their lives to get to Europe for a better life. We see people in this country rising up and saying ‘no more’ when they voted to leave the EU and I don’t think I can even begin to speak about the situation in the USA. The whole world seems to have gone slightly crazy and again not in a good way.
We remember, bring back together, an event in the 17th Century, we remember, rightly so, the people who have given their lives that we might experience freedom. We remembered at our All Saints Service those we love who are no longer with us. But as we go about our daily tasks should we not also remember those in the world, including here in Britain, whose lives are so different from ours because of poverty, lack of water, war, injustice, famine… I could go on and on. We may feel we can’t do much but the least we can do is try to understand and not make random judgment because things are not the way we would have them be.
In the Bible we see the Jews remembering the Exodus from Egypt at Passover and as Christians every month we take part in an act of remembrance as we celebrate Holy Communion. “Do this in remembrance of me”, said Jesus. The trouble is the world has forgotten his message, or has never known it. It would make all the difference, wouldn’t it? As Christians our job must surely be to share that message in what we say, how we act and in what we do. We cannot afford for one minute to forget to remember God’s message that could transform the world if only the world would let it.
Shalom my friends,