November is the month of remembering. We commemorate all the inspiring people we call Saints on Nov 1st. We remember ‘All Souls’ – all those we have known and loved on the 2nd. We light bonfires and have fireworks as we remember the tragedy surrounding Guy Fawkes on the 5th and then there is Remembrance Sunday itself, when we come together in silence to remember those who have died in conflict in Two World Wars and in many others since. Why do we set aside days and times to come together? Why is it important to remember together? It’s not as if we ever really forget those we love. But remembering is more than just the opposite of forgetting. And it isn’t about rooting us deeply in the past. It is about helping us to live our lives today. It is to make new, to put back together, to ‘re- member.’ And that is what Jesus did. That is what is at the heart of the Christian faith at the Eucharist. On the night before he died, Jesus gathered his disciples, around a table for a simple meal. He broke bread and shared wine, and said to them ‘do this in remembrance of me.’ The church has gathered ever since, sometimes in hundreds, some times in twos and threes to commemorate that Last Supper. Our faith is both living and an act of remembering. Enabling us to both look back and to look forward.
Jesus knew he was going to die, but he gave his disciples something to remember individually and as group of friends. At one level, when we have lost someone, we all remember and grieve alone. Yet remembering as a family, as a community, as a congregation can bring us closer together in a profound way. Shared memories can make us cry, they can make us smile, they can give us the courage to go on amidst all the confusion and anguish and anger that loss can generate. In our aloneness and in our togetherness remembering is precious, painful sometimes yes, but precious.
So whenever we find ourselves remembering this month, on our own, or together, as we wear our poppies, or as we quietly light a candle. Let’s remember the past with courage face the future with hope and encourage one another to live life to the full. That when the time comes for others to gather to remember us , their memories of us, might bring them closer together .