Saturday, 5 November 2011

A time to remember

 "Remember, remember,
the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason why
Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!"
Older British citizens are known to recite this poem leading up to the date of 5th November.  That’s because on 5th November 1605 a plot to blow up Parliament and King James 1st was foiled.  The people rejoiced because the King James 1st life was spared.  Many of you have read about this in previous new letters, so I am not going to write anything about it here.  But if you want to know more, check out the website.
Tonight is called bonfire night because all over England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales people build huge pyres to burn—a tradition rooted in burning effigies of Guy Fawkes and the other Catholics who were affiliated with the Gunpowder plot.  These large bonfires bring crowds to roast potatoes, cook sausages and shoot fireworks.  I would suspect that for a lot of Brits, the original meaning is a bit lost and it’s just a good excuse to have a celebration.
Because of where we live, we can see several displays of fireworks—from a theme park about six miles from our home; the local town centre and even Windsor. 
On a family level, we also have birthdays to celebrate: 4th November:  “Mickey”, who turned five on Friday and 21st November:  “Bell Man”, who will be 14!
            Last night My Midnight Man rang “Mickey” to have a little chat with him and wish him happy birthday. 
“Happy Birthday, Mickey!”  says Grandy.
“Thank you!  Bye!”  says Mickey and hands the phone back to his Mum. 
Since “Mickey” is now five, Grandy was expecting a short conversation—just not that short!  Children can make you smile.
Tomorrow evening St. Mary’s church will be holding an “All Souls” service for the parish.  It is a special service of remembrance for those who have passed away in the parish during the last three years or so.  There are Bible readings, hymns, and then a time when the names of the deceased are read out to the congregation and candles are lit.  It will be the first time I’ve attended such a service—partly as a parishioner and partly to help serve coffee and tea after the service. 
This is a month of Remembrance—All Souls Day, Guy Fawkes Night, Remembrance Day (known as Veterans Day in America) and Thanksgiving in America. 
I can’t help but think that we should be like God in our “memory style”.  For instance, we should remember no more:
·         The mistakes and shortcomings of our past
·         The faults, mistakes and offenses of others
·         The negative people from our past, who have hurt us, but we no longer have any association.
We should and must remember:
·         The promises of God are for today and into eternity.
·         The dreams we are working to make reality
·         The Godly examples who have made a positive influence our lives
·         The lessons we learned from past mistakes
·         That our Glorious Father tenderly loves us in the same manner and to the same degree as He loves Jesus.
·         To daily receive God’s forgiveness and mercy for ourselves, and show that same grace to others.
·         Taking care of today is actually planning for tomorrow.

Our spiritual heritage is listed in Hebrews 11—from Abraham to the prophets.  The apostle Paul put it like this:   Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,”  Hebrews 12:1

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,  "Lady Helene"

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