Somers Park Methodist Church
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As a young man I never really connected with Remembrance Day services, even though my father had been a regular in the RAF for many years. Then one day my grandmother mentioned her brother Percy had died after the Normandy invasion. I was not even aware she had a brother, and that I had this great uncle. Even after my grandmother revealing this we knew little, and she never spoke of him again. He had been killed with his whole tank crew, and my grandmother believed he was buried in Normandy. Years later Sylvia and I visited the Commonwealth War Cemetery at Caen, and we wondered if he might be buried there. Only recently did we discover his grave, just outside of Antwerp. Some kind dutch person had photographed every single war grave in that cemetery and put the images on the internet. Now every Remembrance Day I think of my great uncle Percy, who fell in Holland. November is a time for remembering. At the beginning of the month we have All Souls Day, when we remember the faithful departed, and All Saints Day, when we celebrate those in heaven whose Christian witness we most admire. At Remembrance we remember those who have died for their country in war. In between we even "remember, remember the fifth of November" when King and Parliament were saved from "gunpowder, treason and plot." At the heart of our Christian worship is a sacred act of remembrance, Holy Communion, where we sacramentally join past, present and future together through sharing in the body and blood of Christ given for us on the cross. Christian remembering is not sentimental, neither nostalgic, which it could so easily be. Instead Christians remember in a way that is full of hope as we look towards the future. Our word "re-member" literally means "putting back together". This is what Jesus offers us by his life, death and resurrection, and what the Holy Spirit does for us, putting us back together where we are broken, hurting, fallen or lost. Having been put back together, Christ leads us onward towards the light of his eternal Kingdom. It took an anonymous dutch man or woman to help me remember my great uncle Percy. Church is a community where in Christ we help one another remember in this hopeful and purposeful way. We do this peace, justice and joy can grow. As in our "In Loving Memory" and ecumenical Remembrance Services, and every time we meet around the Lord's table, we gather to be put back together that our tomorrows may be bright. So this November I invite you to remember, not sentimentally or nostalgically, but helping one another, hopefully and joyfully in the Lord.
With every blessing, Nigel
































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