November is the month in the year which is flavoured by the theme of Remembrance. The month begins with the Christian festival of All Saints and reaches its climax on the 11th day with the remembrance of all those who have died in conflicts over the last 100 years. In recent months news bulletins have shown us pictures of the Tower of London with an ever growing sea of red poppies around its wall. This has been part of the way in which the Tower of London has marked the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. By Remembrance Day there will be 888,246 ceramic poppies filling the Tower's famous moat. Each poppy represents a British military fatality during the war. Alongside the poppies there are exhibitions about the role that the Tower had in the First World War.
The news today (27/10/14) has included a report of the conclusion of the United Kingdom’s army involvement in Afghanistan, remembering the 453 people who have died and the many others who have been injured since 2001. Let us also remember that the British Army is still involved in other situations, including a recent deployment to Sierra Leone to help with managing the crisis that the Ebola outbreak has caused, as well as deployments in Europe because of the increased tensions between western nations and Russia.
Remembering is an on-going theme within the Jewish and Christian faiths. At Passover the Jews remember how their ancestors left Egypt over 3000 years ago. Christians are also challenged to remember in several ways. We remember Jesus’ death on Good Friday and his rising on Easter Day every time we share the bread and wine at Communion and we are called to remember other peoples’ needs in our prayers. At church we have ‘The Blue Book’ left in the church porch, where people can enter prayer requests before worship, so those prayed for can be remembered during the service.
Christians are not only encouraged to remember peoples’ needs in prayer but also to see if they can provide answers to some of the prayers. A central part of Jesus’ teaching was the importance of remembering the needs of others. The passage below from Matthew 25 is one that regularly makes me think about the way I live.
35 'For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
(Matthew 25: 35-36)
The message Jesus gave to his friends was that every time we do even a small thing for others we are doing it for him. As we enter this time of remembering, let us always be ready to remember the needs of others by being loving and caring even in these difficult financial times.
With best wishes