In November, we remember- and do so in a number of different ways. With All Saintstide beginning the month, we recall how God has encouraged and helped us through the loss of those friends and family members we have known and loved but are no longer with us. The biblical definition of ‘saint’ extends far beyond those commemorated on special days or in stained glass.
The saints of God are the faithful Christians of every church in every age. The New Testament makes that clear when we read in various letters to churches, ‘Greet all your leaders and all the saints’ (Hebrews 13:13); ‘All the saints greet you’ (2 Corinthians 13:12) and ‘All the saints greet you, especially those of the Emperor’s household’ (Philippians 4:21).
Later this month, we have Remembrance Sunday on November 13th when the nation pauses to give thanks, many of us during a time of worship, for our deliverance in wartime and the maintenance of our peace. We recall the millions of costly sacrifices in this and earlier generations which were made to win our security and freedom. Many of us will be remembering, with love, friends or family members who were lost or harmed in war.
Alongside these special annual moments for remembering others with gratitude, we regularly remember, at Holy Communion, what Jesus has done for us. But there’s an amazing difference when we obey Jesus’ command to ‘do this in remembrance of me’. Our times of thankfulness are important and thought-provoking when we remember Christians who have helped us through their loving examples and also when we celebrate our liberty won by members of our armed forces. But our remembering at the Lord’s Table is of a different kind. This is because the one who died on the cross for our eternal freedom is no longer dead but risen and alive and with us today. This remembrance is done in the living presence of the person we’re remembering.
All these kinds of remembering can inspire us to reflect on how our lives can be lived more thoughtfully and fruitfully. But remembering at Communion what the Living Lord has done opens us up to Jesus actually remaking us. He can change our opinions and attitudes, increase our ability to love and serve, forgive and renew us as he graciously fills us with his Spirit.
Yours in Christ