I always remember as a child, looking forward to November as I would so enjoy going to firework displays. I also remember a little ditty we would say as children, “Remember, remember, the fifth of November; gunpowder, treason and plot”. To be truthful, I just liked bonfires, fireworks and toffee apples but most of all, making patterns with sparklers. The painful story of the Gunpowder Plot, a terrorist attack on parliament to try and return England to the Roman Catholic faith, is largely forgotten today. Thankfully, we have largely moved on from religious bigotry and sectarian violence. I for one, am glad because it has no place in the teachings of Jesus.
November is a month of special memories for our Parish. We begin with the feast of All Saints and our Parish Gift day on Saturday the 2nd of November, where we invite people to come and contribute financially to the upkeep of our beautiful Parish Church and I look forward to hopefully meeting you then. The next day is All Saints Church Festival where we celebrate All Saints day. On Sunday 3rd of November at 4:00 pm we hold our All Souls Service; a beautiful reflective service to remember those people we love who have died, and to commend them and us to the love of God.
The following Sunday the 10th of November is Remembrance Day. This is always a poignant one for me as an ex-serviceman, and the son of a Naval Officer who served at HMS Osprey. I served for two and half years in Northern Ireland with the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment and lost good comrades in the troubles. Whilst I rejoice at the years of peace since the Good Friday agreement, every remembrance Sunday I can still hear the explosion, that took place in Crossmaglen Square, the smell of my friend burning and the terrible wounds that would result in his death. Lance Corporal Steven Taverner of the 1st Battalion the Devon and Dorset Regiment will, “With the going down of the Sun and in the morning” be remembered by me and others who served with him.
Memories are powerful things; they bring the past into the present and, whilst there are days when I can’t remember what I came upstairs for, some memories will never leave me.
In a service of Holy communion (or the Eucharist as we call it here at All Saints and St Edmunds) a key part of the rite is known as the Anamnesis, (the remembering) where we recall the work of Jesus for us, in his incarnation, ( a word the children at Wyke Juniors will be learning about this term, it means the coming of God in Jesus), his life, death and resurrection. This anamnesis ‘calling to mind’ isn’t just a memory or memorial, it is an entering into the here and now of all the events and benefits for us of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. This anamnesis is as powerful as some of the memories we hold of key times in our lives. It is an eternal moment and one of the reasons why the Eucharist is central to the Christian life.
My hope is that this November you will come and join us at one of our services to remember, to give thanks, perhaps to mourn, and to know that God is present now in our memories, bringing healing and peace.
May I wish you Peace and All Good
Brother Alasdair CFC , Rector