Remembering forms a significant part of our lives each November. It ranges from our light-hearted ‘remember, remember the 5th of November…’ celebrations of bonfire night, to the deeply serious remembrance services of next weekend as we join with the other churches in Dedworth at the memorial in Dedworth Road (opposite Winton House) at 10.45am, to mark the Centenary of Armistice Day in 1918 and remember those who have given their lives for others.
Remembering is a powerful part of being human. We use birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate the good things we have enjoyed, while funerals and thanksgiving services are important ways of acknowledging the place that loved ones have had in our lives. But it can be a bittersweet experience, a two-edged sword, bringing us the pain and vulnerability of recalling losses, hurts and failures as well as the joy of celebrating blessings, growth and success.
Special days and seasons in the Church calendar remind us of the depth of God’s love for us, and of the pain and vulnerability that he shared with us so that we could share his joy. At Christmas we remember that he came to this world as a human baby 2,000 years ago; on Good Friday and in Communion services we recall Jesus’ sacrificial love as he practised what he preached in laying down his life for his friends (us!) so that our sins could be forgiven; and on Easter Day and every Sunday we remember that in defeating the power of death he paved the way for us to share in his new life.
So this coming Remembrance Day, pray for those who are nursing the wounds of the untimely loss of family, friends and colleagues. Pray that God will defeat the power of their experience of death and that he would use the good memories of their loved ones to heal their wounds. And pray that He will comfort them.
And if the loss of loved ones has been (or remained) a significant part of your experience this year, why not join us at 5pm on Sunday 2nd December as we hold a special service to help you find God’s comfort, peace and strength as you remember the past, struggle with the present and seek hope for the future.
With my love and prayers