Revd Gary's Pastoral Letter November 2020
Listed Under: Vicars Blog
November is a month we begin by looking back and remembering but ends it by looking forward. For sure, this year in its totality will be remembered for all sorts of reasons and for all sorts of treasured and loved people. We also look forward to what next year will bring.
November starts with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, then Remembrance Sunday. As we celebrate these occasions, we look back to people who are no longer on earth with us.
On All Saints’ Day, we remember and give thanks for those who kept the faith alive in sometimes terrible situations. Despite facing all sorts of challenges, even persecution, they remained faithful to Jesus Christ. Their faith cost some of them their lives.
On All Souls’ Day we remember and give thanks for those who have gone before us, for all our family members and friends who have died, for all those who have been a part of our lives, and for all who have contributed so much to our communities. People perhaps whose lives have inspired and encouraged us. Over my last couple of years with you, I have been humbled to have our church in Powick (for the wider benefice and villages) well attended for a special service of Memory for all our loved ones lost. This year, this will be remembered in different ways and I hope you can engage with the opportunities, especially the Memory Garden at Madresfield Church - which will be open for the entire month.
On Remembrance Sunday we remember those who gave their lives in armed conflict, protecting a way of life which we now enjoy freely and those who fought to further the cause of freedom and justice. It is important to remember and to value people both for the things they have done and the people they have been. In remembering we honour them, but the greatest honour that we can bestow on those we remember is to allow our lives to be influenced by the way they lived their lives. As we remember those who are no longer with us, we honour them by seeking to live lives of peace and encouraging individuals, communities and nations to live at peace with one another. We also honour them by standing up to those who would deprive the weak and powerless of their freedom to live their own lives.
Again, this year, our Remembrance Sunday observances will be different - please see later in this magazine for further information.
Sometimes when we are confronted by the enormity of all that needs to be done on an international, national and local level to alleviate suffering, we are tempted to give up and feel there is nothing we can do about it. The enormity of the COVID19 pandemic remains with us and the situation changes rapidly. We may become “road blocked” and our ability to see sense or act sensibly can be affected. That is when we need to remember the story Jesus told us about the mustard seed and how it can grow to a great tree from a tiny seed. If our faith is like that, Jesus says, we too can-do great things and help to move the mountains of problems that people face.
November calls us to remember those who have gone before us, and all that God was able to do through them. But it also encourages us to do what we can to plant seeds, trusting that God will bless their growth. Sometimes, from tiny beginnings and apparently hopeless situations, impossible things happen.
The last Sunday in November this year is the Feast of Christ the King, when we celebrate Christ as King and Lord of the Universe who rules over all things in heaven and on earth. The feast of Christ the King marks the end of the Church’s liturgical year and heralds the season of Advent. So, in contrast to the beginning of the month when we are looking back and remembering, the end of November calls us to look forward, to a time when God’s kingdom is fully realised and the reign of peace and justice on earth is brought into being. God knows what Christmas will look like, but Christmas will come.
Take care and keep safe - Rev Gary