November the month of Remembrance.
At the beginning of the month we remember those we have loved and loSst at our All Souls’ services. In 2020 we conducted 217 funerals in the Lowton and Golborne Team. Our usual average for a year is 100. This year for All Souls’, because of the numbers, we have decided to put a general invitation out to people if they would like to come to any of our three services. They are all on 31 October, St. Luke’s at 3.00 p.m. and St. Thomas’ and St. Mary’s at 6.30pm. We hope that this will be an opportunity for people to remember loved ones, and everyone who has been affected by recent events including the Covid 19 pandemic.
All Souls’ is traditionally celebrated on 2nd November, the day following All Saints’ Day. This year it’s a bit early because we always celebrate the festival on a Sunday to enable as many people as possible to come to church on that day. All Saints’ is also important to us as it signifies the start of the Kingdom Season in our worship. The colours are changed in church from the green of ordinary time, of trees and plants, to the red of the Kingdom season, to reflect the power of the Holy Spirit, the blood of the saints and the sacrifice of Jesus. The Kingship of Jesus is at the centre of this season and we end our liturgical year on Christ the King Sunday. This year the feast of Christ the King falls on Sunday 21st November. This celebration, the week before we begin our Advent pilgrimage, tells us that no matter what has happened during the year, Jesus is still the king.
I have an icon on the wall of my study which shows Jesus as the king. Jesus sits on the throne and is surrounded by the symbols of the four Evangelists. Matthew is represented by the Man, Mark by the Lion, Luke by the Calf, and John by the Eagle. I use this image in schools to show the children an image of Jesus in triumph. Jesus the king for all time, not just the time we have now, but every bit of time that ever will be.
This is a difficult concept sometimes for children, it’s also a difficult concept for adults too! The thing is, Jesus is always there for us, he is always the King, he’s always our Saviour, and he’s always our friend. In good times and in bad, we can always rely on him. I like to encourage children, and adults alike, to see Jesus as a friend. A friend we can feel relaxed with. A friend we can be ourselves with. A friend who always makes a difference in our lives.
Before we celebrate Christ. as King, on 14th November we will be remembering those who have died in conflict. This will be especially poignant this year after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the issues this has caused. Remembrance though is not a time to make a political point, it’s a time to remember those who have given their lives so that we might be free. The freedoms we enjoy in this country are very precious, so it’s vitally important for us to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have those freedoms. Sometimes, as a nation, we take those freedoms for granted. Let’s pause together on 14th November to remember those who have given their lives, those who may still be suffering, and those who live in places where there is still warfare or unrest. We will also be remembering persecuted people on Remembrance Sunday this year, as we look forward to a time when people may be able to live in peace and harmony with each other.
So, November, Remembrance and the Kingdom. Remembrance to enable us to remember and take note of what has gone before and the Kingdom to remind us of the eternity of the love of God. The Kingdom of God is built upon the sacrifice of Jesus, but also on the faith of his followers. That’s us, let’s make sure we’re worthy of that call.
Your friend and Team Rector