Musings on November: the Season of Remembrance

November is traditionally the month when we remember and pray with greater intensity for relatives, friends and for all the dead. Remembering and mourning death is a deep emotional human, need, not necessarily confined to one month.

However, setting aside a particular month for remembrance provides the opportunity for public and community remembrance, prayer services and celebrations of thanksgiving for those who gave their lives, on land, sea and in the air during the last century that we may live in freedom. Such services are healing and restorative

While death is the natural end of all that lives it is unnatural death that grieves us most deeply. Sadly, our troubled world today is awash with unnatural deaths. The media keeps us abreast of the horrors of the many wars and the dreadful suffering and grief of its victims. It brings into our comfortable living rooms the latest horrors like the plight of Rohingya Muslims fleeing from Myanmar to Bangladesh with dreadful stories of killings and mutilation, scenes of women children and the elderly dying of starvation, disease and the perils of the journey. Last week we remembered the 50th Anniversary of the Abortion Act and the many, many millions of unborn children denied the right to life.

Then, there are the natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and mudslides. Through the media we witness unimaginable scenes of horror men, women and children drowning in mud and the destruction of the flimsy villages of the world’s poorest peoples. We are made aware of famine and its consequences.

Sadly, so many of these tragedies are of human making. The lust for power, control and wealth among some world leaders overrides any concern for the lives and wellbeing of their peoples and often deliberately create famine through blocking ports to prevent aid and medical supplies from reaching those in desperate need.

A widespread denial of or ignoring climate change and its consequences is an important factor contributing to loss of life. The evidence of need for urgent action is becoming ever more obvious. Here in England climate change is not a high profile issue, though it is not ignored. More education for all of us and more sanctions for significant offenders is required.

Death is a sombre subject and is indeed, the natural earthly end of all living creatures. However, for people of faith death is not an ending of existance but a separation with a certainty of reunion in that mysterious state, on the other side of death, which we call heaven.

Sadly, the noise, glitter, the celebrity appeal, the constant urgings of advertising agencies that we need more, bigger, and better supplies of everything, from tooth paste to beds, sofas, phones, gadgets and fast technology, creates a first world culture that is fast, shallow and wasteful. It seems, to many, that it is clever, sophisticated and 'with it' to be agnostic or atheistic and to laugh at the notion of God as the creator of the Universe to whom we must answer for our allotted time on earth.

However, the Good News is that our God is merciful and faithful. He knows and appreciates that there is much love, compassion  and generosity in the hearts of his  people; he  he understands our waywardness and weaknesses and has already taken onto himself all the evil deeds of human kind, in the person of Jesus Christ.

All that God requires from us is faith in him and repentance for our wrong doing. There is welcome and room for all in God’s heaven even if we turn to him only in the last seconds of our life.

Sr. Camilla