Thank you to Martin Lees one of our Licenced Ministers for blogging last month. I hope others from our leadership team will also contribute to this monthly blog
November is always associated with remembering. The words even rhyme. Long before we remembered the horrors of World and other wars in the 20thCentury we had that thwarted 17th century terrorist plot immortalised in the rhyme:-
‘Remember, remember, the 5th of November;
gunpowder treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot’
The colour red has always been associated with remembering, and the very powerful symbol of the Red Poppy as they grew out of the devastated battle fields after the first world war has had a new poignancy this year with the amazing display of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London which I and some of my family visited alongside seemingly tens of thousands of others on a very wet day in October half term, which seemed to add to the haunting reminder of that terrible conflict. Of all the exhibitions, programmes, events and art that have been dedicated to this year’s 100th Anniversary Commemoration of the outbreak of World War I, the simplicity of over 800,000 practically identical poppies for each British life lost in WW1 brought together an artistic and illustrated display that needed no words or explanation for anyone.
We have just had our usual Remembrance Sunday service her in our Parish and the numbers seemed bigger than ever as old and young crowded into our Parish Church. The enormity of suffering and war as it is still going on in many parts of the world is just too big for us to take in, and yet in this simple annual way ‘We Will Remember Them’.
Remembering is so important as we have to learn from the past. And remembering and red is right at the heart of our Christian faith. When I take school and other especially children’s groups around the church, when we come to the East end of the church with the Communion Table most seem to know it’s something about bread and wine and that the wine is always red the colour of blood. 2,000 years ago Jesus’ blood was shed on the Cross as He died to take upon Himself all our sins and failings so that we can know forgiveness. Every time we remember this at Holy Communion with red wine and broken bread we are reminding ourselves and each other and the whole world how important that one death is of one person who was wrongly accused as a common criminal and died in an appalling and shameful and agonizing way as did many 1,000s by crucifixion by the Romans and others in the ancient world and shockingly some still do today. As Christians we will remember Jesus and continue to proclaim that we remember that one act as it was and is the most important and significant and greatest act of love and sacrifice ever, because that Remembrance gives us life and hope and peace for ever.
We remember the millions that have died and continue to die as a result of war. We must never forget them. But we also remember Jesus who died for everyone, and as God raised Him gloriously from the dead on that first Easter day that gives us a hope for the future. What a remembrance this is!