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In The Interregnum November 2022

JOHN KINCHIN-SMITHWhilst St Andrew's Church is in interregnum, this page will see a variety of authors from St Andrew's Church and the Diocese
This month we hear from the Rev John Kinchin-Smith, member of the ministry team at St Andrew's


“Remember, remember, the fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason, and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot”
 
November is a month for remembering. It begins and ends in sombre mood, reflecting the season. All Souls’ Day on 2nd November is a time when the Christian Church has traditionally commemorated the faithful departed, and is therefore brought to reflect upon human mortality. November ends this year in the season of Advent when the Church traditionally begins its penitential time of preparation for Christmas with reflection upon ‘The four last things: death, judgement, heaven, and hell’, hardly themes to bring cheer or to lift spirits! Between All Souls’ and Advent Sunday, the Church and nation commemorate Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, and once again we are reminded not only of the courage and sacrifice of the fallen, but also that the causes of war, its horror, and suffering, lie within the human heart itself
 
These reflections upon mortality are particularly appropriate when memories of the death of Queen Elizabeth II and her funeral are still fresh. For many, the Queen’s death brought back memories of other loved ones departed. Every funeral brings not only grief, but also thanksgiving for all that was noble and good in the life of the departed, for all the love they shared and the happiness they knew. But the death of a loved one also reminds us of our own mortality, and that the day will come when we shall have to give account for the way we have lived our lives. Some find it easier to convince themselves that this is the only life there is. But, “Let us eat and drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” is hardly an attitude that brings hope, consolation, or meaning!
 
November, however, actually begins in the Christian Church with the festival of All Saints’ on 1st November, a festival of celebration that focuses on the lives of those whose lives have been marked by self-giving, sacrifice, generosity and love. The season of Advent itself is also a celebration of hope with its focus upon the dawn breaking into the darkness of the world with the coming of Jesus Christ both at Christmas and at the end of time. Indeed, all these themes are far from contradictory. The joyfulness of the Christian life is that it doesn’t refuse to face the realities of sin, suffering and death, but faces them head-on with the facts of God’s self-giving love shown in the person of Jesus Christ and the experience of that love in human hearts. I have been moved over and over again by the peace with which Christian believers have faced enormous personal suffering or their own approaching death
 
Indeed, if we cannot affirm that truth and love will one day prevail, and that life can be lived in the joyful awareness that God’s love holds us both in life and also in death, then what sense can we make of it? Why not come and share these themes with us in church during November!
 
courtesy of St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine

 


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