Reverend Cathy writes - November 2018

Dear Friends

November is a month of remembering. It is particularly poignant this year as the 100th anniversary of the end of the first ‘world war’ falls on Remembrance Sunday. That war was supposed to be the war to end all wars – and yet just a couple of decades later we were at it again.

In honour of this occasion, a group from All Saints Foots Cray have worked hard to create an exhibition in the church: ‘There but Not There’, the centrepiece of which is transparent figures, almost invisible, that remind us movingly of those who might have been there but for their untimely deaths[1]

And so we remember....’Lest we forget’ ....as the slogan of the Royal British Legion has it. Though technically the opposite of ‘re-member’ is ‘dis-member’. To dismember is to take apart, to allow to dissipate, to fall away. By re-membering we hold on to, we put together, we don’t allow falling away of what happens in war.

Because, of course, if we forget, we are condemned to repeat the same mistakes again and again. And so we have a day set apart when we call to mind all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in war

Remembering doesn’t mean that war is always right, let alone something in which to glory. Wearing a poppy with pride doesn’t include pride in the senseless slaughter of the Somme, the blanket bombing of Dresden or the radiation sickness of Hiroshima.

Many acts of war in history, including some perpetrated by the UK, have been at best misguided and at worst totally wrong. But whatever the rights and wrongs of some wars, nothing should stop us from recognising the greatness of human spirit and sacrifice which, time and again has been brought forth by war.

So we remember not only the brave servicemen – and they were brave, even those who ran – and some of them very young – but also the first-aiders, the resistance, all those who put themselves at risk to help others. And in re-membering: in calling to mind and putting together the sacrifices brought by war – not by only those who had guns in their hands but those supporting or even just civilians caught in the cross-fire – we tell stories that help to prevent a re-occurance

In many different ways those caught in war, whether civilian or military, victors or vanquished, find themselves confronted as never before with the ultimates of life and death, with the call to sacrifice. And so we recognise the willingness of many people to drink the cup of suffering: theologically speaking, to follow Christ beyond Gethsemane and to the cross.

As we remember the sacrifices of two world wars – and of countess wars since then – and think of those who in one way or another gave their lives for others, we can see in the actions of many of those people the suffering of Christ.  So we give thanks to God for all who showed that out of the deepest darkness of killing, of slaughter, the spirit of sacrifice, the spirit of heroism, can still emerge.

For as St Paul writes ‘Neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’[2]  And so let us re-member: let us put together; let us build up... a new hope for the future, that we may not repeat the mistakes of the past. Out of darkness, may there come light.

With every blessing,

Cathy



[1] If you are reading this in the magazine, see the churchwardens’ letter for more information. Also the posters on

[2] Romans 8:38-39


Previous editions of Reverend Cathy Writes

 July

August

November