November is a useful month. It can be a depressing month if our mind is taken up with darkening nights and the downsides of the approaching Winter season. But it can be a useful month if we spend our darker days and longer evenings remembering inspiring people and times. That is the design of November which our forbears have left us, in order to help us.
For instance, November 1st and 2nd is All Souls and All Saints tide. It’s time to remember Christian people who have inspired us in previous generations. Which saints are you remembering this year? I’m going to revisit the life of Roland Allen, whose showed a sharp mission-focussed wisdom despite being out of kilter with the self-satisfied muddled approach of his contemporaries. Which Christian could re-inspire you? I’m going to remember the life of Boniface, the Anglo-Saxon who after his conversion heard the call to reach out with the gospel of Jesus Christ to his forbears’ people. It is good to remember Saints and be inspired.
November 5th is the time to be inspired by those who faced the threat of political instability and revolutionary terrorism from those within their population owing allegiance to foreign religious authorities. The government in the early years of James I needed popular support in the face of attempts to blow up King and parliament. The Gunpowder Plot was discovered, the Parliament was able to continue its work in difficult times. Within a decade the King James Bible was finished and placed in every church in the land. It is good to remember the importance of such political stability in times of upheaval.
November 11th is the time to remember those who gave their lives in times of war. Our nation faced great peril in 1914-18, and in 1939-45, and so many sacrificed much for the fight and the recovery. I visited Bletchley Park last month where Jean’s father was a small part of the code breaking team. It is good to remember those who have served the nation well in tumultuous times.
November is good to remember because it helps us appreciate those key workers who are serving us well during this Covid-19 national emergency. It helps us consider how to reach this generation with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It helps us to value the good aspects of our political system, even as it comes under greater strain than for many years. Remembering well has all sorts of positive spin-offs. And so it helps us cope with challenges which seem new, but have been faced by previous generations, and in turn learn similar lessons.
Remembering like this helps keep us going with courage and faith.
I pray your November is useful. And that our newly re-started printed Parish Magazine is a help.
Yours in Christ,