By the time this arrives in your in-box, it will be November, which means for many it’s time to put on our wellies, and huddle together on a patch of muddy grass to watch an often-underwhelming firework display.
The Bonfire Night refrain: “Remember, Remember the 5th of November,” has been etched into most of the nation’s memories since primary school as the poem that retells the story of Guy Fawkes’ failed gunpower plot over four centuries ago in London.
For me, memories of Bonfire Night are always of time spent with family members and neighbours, many of whom have now died, eating jacket potatoes wrapped in charred foil as we stood around the bonfire waiting to be given our sparklers.
The month of November epitomises remembrance. As October draws to a close, we remember the feast of All Hallows, or Hallowe’en, and then, as November begins, we celebrate two special Christian festivals, although often overshadowed by Hallowe’en: All Saints on the 1st and All Souls on the 2nd. It is a time when we remember not only the famous saints, known and unknown by the Church, that went before us, but those people who have been ‘saints’ in our lives and who we want to remember and give thanks for before God.
And then of course we come to Remembrance Sunday, a time when we remember all those who fought for our freedom, and who continue to do so – especially poignant when so many parts of the world are experiencing ongoing war and violence. So many memories at this time of year, both happy and sad, but memories that we can offer to God.
At this time, I invite you to think about your own thanksgiving to God for the gift of the holy saints and the ‘saints’ who have touched your life, by attending any of the special services taking place around the parish, and considering how through your own prayers, words and actions you might become a ‘saint’ to others.
The Revd Dawn Stamper