November

Dear All

If harvest is a time for being thankful, November is the month for remembering. The month starts with the twin celebrations of All Saints (All Hallows) and All Souls, where we remember those we have loved and who are no longer with us. A few days later, on Remembrance Sunday, we remember those who died in the two world wars in particular.

Why do we remember? What is so important about setting aside special times for remembering?

First, we remember for their sake. We don't want to forget them . Maybe we even made them a specific promise, "I'll never forget you." That is certainly the promise that we as a nation made those who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf during the wars. 'We
will remember them." That is also the reason why we use special materials on their memorials - not for them the usual materials which are intended to fade with time;
these memorials should last as long as our civilisation does. A special gift from a grateful nation.

But we also remember for our sake. Memories make us who we are. The most enduring legacy anyone can leave behind is when others choose to shape their lives based on values they observed in that person. In that way we carry with us what was best and most precious in that person. Or occasionally it is the memory of things that went wrong, and the commitment to "never again." Either way, remembering helps keep us aiming for a higher goal, a better way.

As He was about to face His own death, Jesus tried to prepare his followers for his departure. He knew they would miss him deeply; you cannot spend years with someone without feeling a loss when they go. But He knew that this life is not all there is. In fact, His very departure would guarantee it! "In my Father's house are many rooms", we read in John's Gospel, "and I go to prepare a place for you."

We don't remember because we want to live in the past. We mustn't try to recreate a lost world with all its flaws as well as values. We remember because we are grateful. We remember because we want to be better. For now, we are on a journey. One which began long before we were born, and will continue long after we are dead. But as we each complete our part of the journey, Jesus offers a wonderful welcome in His home if we want it.

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