From the Rector - November 2019

Dear Friends,

At this time of year, where we have the lists of departed loved ones out in our churches to be added to in the run up to All Souls, I find myself recalling the voices as well as faces of our departed friends and loved ones.

These days it’s rather common when someone dies that we have recordings of their voices or perhaps videos of them, which I am sure can be a comfort for the bereaved.

Death is a subject that many wish to avoid, yet in November it is unavoidable, at least in church life. We of course celebrate All Saints Day, followed by All Souls, where we gather to remember all those we love but see no longer. This is followed by Remembrance Sunday with Armistice Day on the 11th. Some might think this all a bit miserable, especially as the shops fill with Christmas paraphernalia. However, to my mind, death is so much a part of life that it is healthy to face the reality of it, to acknowledge the pain it brings and to take the time and space to remember those who have gone.

A few weeks ago, I attended the Christ Church incumbents conference in Oxford. Alice (our former Curate) and I spent a lovely afternoon together visiting Blenheim Palace. There is an organ in the library there which has the following inscription from the 8th Duke of Marlborough: “In memory of happy days we leave thy voice to speak within these walls in years to come when ours are still.” What a marvellous notion, leaving that wonderful instrument behind for the benefit of those who would come after his death.

Throughout the years of Christian history there have been men and women of vision and courage whose witness and example continue to speak to us. We call them 'Saints' and rightly celebrate their legacy on All Saints Day.

However, the Bible says that all Christians are saints and so I am left pondering what our legacies might be. What are we doing now in Christ’s service and what will we leave behind when our voices are stilled? It is a sobering thought and one that should prompt all Christians to reflect both on the quality of their service and commitment to our Lord.

In a previous letter, I told the story of a father and daughter saying goodbye to each for what they know will be the last time as his health fades... in which his parting words were “I wish you enough”..

I wish you enough sun to keep your outlook bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

It is now our turn to make our mark for Christ and to do the very best we can to share His love with a world in so much need of it. Every Christian has a part to play. One day we shall just be a face and voice in someone’s memory. What will they say of us?

As Christians we are not untouched by death, but we also have the hope of springtime.

The springtime of eternal life to come.

My friends, I wish you enough!