Some timely reflections from Dianna Gwilliams, the Dean of Guildford.
The month of November often carries a sombre tone. The days are shorter, curtains are drawn earlier and there feels as if there is less of the day left after work and school have ended.
November begins with All Souls, including, in many places, a commemoration of loved ones who have died. Then we mark Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday, each with a different flavour but with the emphasis on all who have lost their lives in times of conflict and prayer for those who are currently serving in the Armed Forces. And as we observe Remembrance we join with millions across the nation and world who do the same.
As Christians our gaze then turns towards Advent and we anticipate the four great themes of the season, ‘Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell’. The season of ‘preparation for the coming (adventus) of Christ in his incarnation.
This year we have become conscious of a new kind of ‘front line’. No longer is this term used solely to refer to the military or to armed conflict but it refers to those who serve others in a different kind of uniform in the NHS, health and social care, teaching and the essential services which keep society going.
As we remember those who have died this month the experience of loss has come very close to all. For we may feel that in addition to the loss through bereavement we have lost freedom, autonomy or self-sufficiency.
Remembering is a tool that we can use in finding our way into an uncertain and unclear future. When we remember we actually RE-MEMBER. We put together pieces which have become detached from others. The detachment could be because of death but it could equally be through estrangement, misunderstanding or even through lockdown restrictions.
As we continue in prayer for our nation and her leaders what is it that we could be RE-membering which will then be part of the uncertain future into which God calls us? We definitely don’t know what the future holds but we do know who holds the future.