In Focus Magazine

Thought for the Month – November 2018

The clocks have gone back, nights are drawing in, the month of remembering has come around once more.

Perhaps this particular November has an even greater significance as we commemorate the end to the dark days of war back in 1918 as everyone looked forward, with hope, to the future.

This significant anniversary will remember not only the millions who were killed or went home dreadfully wounded but also all those who, on the home front, often in dangerous and exhausting conditions, underpinned the war effort, keeping industry going, bringing in harvests to ensure people did not starve, etc.

To that end we are going to light a small beacon at Church at 7pm on 11 November alongside the thousands of other beacons being lit at that time.

There are lots of passages in the Bible that talk about remembering, calling to mind, but it is not just us humans that do this, so does God. Rainbows are a reminder of God’s remembering, a sign of his covenant, his promise to us that is forever. This promise is fulfilled in Jesus.

Nicky Gumbel says this about memory and remembering: “One of the first things I do each morning is glance at my diary for the day. In the preceding weeks and months, I will have jotted down the various things I must remember to do that day. I find that unless I write them down I don’t remember.

Memory is strange. There are some things I would prefer not to remember but find difficult to forget. There are other things that I would love to remember that are all too easily forgotten. There are some things that are important for societies, as a whole, not to forget.

All over the world, we see war memorials with the names of those who have died for their country. Often in Britain these memorials feature the words ‘Lest We Forget’. As George Santayana said, ‘Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.’”

We do have some control over our memory. There are some things we are told in the Bible to ‘forget’. There are other things we are repeatedly called to ‘remember’. We can make choices about what we choose to ‘forget’ and what we choose to ‘remember’. The word ‘remember’ in its various Hebrew and Greek forms occurs over 250 times in the Bible.

It is so easy to forget all that God has done for us. It is important to look back at our own lives as well as the history of the church, both local and global, to remember all that God has done.

The major festivals of the church help us to remember the key events in the life of Jesus. Christmas and Easter are very important for this, as we endeavour to help society remember with us. At the Last Supper, Jesus instituted the service of communion so that we would not forget the central event of world history – the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus said, ‘do this in remembrance of me’.

Rev Sue Willetts