So November and winter beckons once more. November that season of bonfires and fireworks, a tradition which stemmed from the failed gunpowder plot of 1605 of Guy Fawkes and his associates to blow up parliament. Quite strange really isn’t it to celebrate or commemorate such a thing burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes (the Guy) on top of a bonfire. I used to love Bonfire night when I was a child and my father used to let fireworks off in our back garden every year. They were carefully planned of course but I am not sorry that fireworks are now more safely administered some distance away mainly in the sky and in organised displays. Who remembers those awful bangers and jumping jacks which could follow you round the garden?! It was always exciting though to see the winter garden lit up in wonderful colours as golden fountains of gunpowder transformed the remains of the old summer bedding into a magical wonderland. Personally we shall enjoy going to the wonderful display in Ockley organised by The Ockley Society each year!
November is something of a season of remembrance though isn’t it. This year the Royal British Legion are encouraging communities across Britain to come together, join together and remember together the service and sacrifice, friendship and collaboration of the men and women of Britain, the Commonwealth and Allied Nations who fought together 75 years ago. Allies from the Commonwealth and other nations had fought shoulder to shoulder with Britain since the start of the Second World War, but in 1944 this collaboration would result in victory in three critical battles; Monte Cassino, D-Day and Kohima and Imphal. It is incredible how even the smallest thing went towards defeating the enemy and realising too just how vital the work of those working in the secret war of spies, code breakers and analysts, apart from the work of the Resistance. All were key to the success of bringing war to an end. We will be remembering this service and sacrifice in our two Services of Remembrance on 10th November. The first one in the morning is at St Margaret’s Ockley and the second one in the afternoon where we will be joined by our uniformed organisations at Capel. They are always such special services. It is worth remembering and celebrating too that many in our multicultural society today are indeed ancestors of these wonderful compatriots. Let us hope these occasions will help to bring unity to our nation today…
Before Remembrance Sunday takes place though, we celebrate All Saints and All Souls and remember those we have loved but who have died in our annual Service of remembrance for the bereaved at Capel church in the afternoon of Sunday 3rd November. Lists are available in church for you to add the name of someone you wish to remember when we read the names and light candles on the altar in memory of them. By the time we have read every name we are given, the altar is ablaze with light, again an act of remembrance but an act of transformation too.
Light is a great theme at this time of the year and at the end of the month; really the beginning of December on Advent Sunday we will be thinking about preparation for the Prince of Peace himself; Jesus Christ the Light of the World. Our Weald Team churches will come together for a special service of Advent music and readings at Capel this year. Advent is a wonderful time of darkness which is illuminated by the actions and words of the prophets, patriarchs and matriarchs, and the many ordinary people who God used to bring the Prince of Peace into the world. They all brought their light in their own way, guided and united by God to bring about his divine purposes.
So light and darkness this November as we travel into December helped by bonfires and fireworks, the sounds and echoes of war as we remember those who have died at our war memorials, the light of candles remembering our own loved ones, and the light of the Advent Candles in church each week which begins with the annual switching on of the Christmas tree lights which line our church path each year – a wonderful unifying event which brings our local community together. Let us remember too in worrying times that darkness never wins, that darkness is always overcome by the Light. So shine on!!
With my love and prayers
Post expires at 3:36pm on Sunday October 25th, 2020