The Minister's Letter

 

A hundred years seems like a long time ago.  It was 100 years ago that the First World War, the so called ‘War to end all wars’ came to an end.  Now it is something children learn about in history lessons and the raw impact, devastation and loss have dimmed into the past.  Yet we are what the past has made, and the Great War determined many changes in our society which are a part of who we have become in the present.  In particular the lives of ordinary people have taken on a significance as their stories from the trenches and the home front have been told and retold, the ‘Tommie’ and the factory girl finding their voice where once it was only the officers and the men of power.

Our Christian faith is a historical one, but it is one which has given significance to ordinary people who in the eyes of God are extraordinary. Jesus spurned the corridors of power, the palace of Herod and the court of Pilate, to spend his time with common fishermen, with hated minor tax officials, with women and men everyone else hated and avoided. He showed the poor, the sick, the grieving, and those struggling on the margins of life that they were extraordinary. Jesus called them ‘blessed’.

We are entering the season of Remembrance, and there will be a particular emphasis this year on the end of the First World War, but the season begins with All Saints on November 1st and All Souls on November 2nd.  The Season culminates on November 25th with the Feast of Christ the King which reminds us that all that is past, and all who have gone before us have a hope and a destination when he comes to reign.  The past is not stuck in ‘history’, it is going places, and we believe it is in God's hands.

When we remember the sacrifice of those who have died in war and the sacrifice of those back home, and when we remember the lives of the Saints and the lives of those we have loved but see no more then we may understand that our own lives are not simply determined by the past.  They made a difference to their own world but also to ours.  They changed things, and although individually those changes might have been very small added together they set the pattern of our world today.  We are no different, for we all like them are extraordinary and blessed, and we have the power to shape our world for better as well as for worse.

In all of this each and everyone is important, from greatest to least.  Our faith teaches us that the flow of history belongs to God and heads towards his Kingdom, but within that flow we each have our part to play, and no part is so small that it does not matter.  For this reason we are all extraordinary, we are blessed, and above all we are loved by God who holds past, present and future in his hands.

With every blessing

  Nigel