River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Rector's Letter

November 2002

Remembrance Day, 11th November

Remembrance and hope are the two themes that seem to dominate this month. We begin with the feasts of All Saints' and All Souls in which we remember those who have died in Christ and we are reminded that our Christian hope is stronger even than death. It is important for us to be reminded at least once a year that Jesus has overcome even death so that all of us can have the sure hope of eternal life. Like it or not, death is one of the few certainties of life. Death is something we would all rather forget but at least some of the time it is good for us to face our fear. Of course we are afraid of death it is the test of all our faith the letting go of all earthly security. It is our fear that makes us embarrassed or angry when someone talks about death. It is our fear that has led us to make death rather than sex the new modern taboo subject. We Christians, like the rest of the world, may be afraid of death but as well as fear we should have hope and confidence in God. When our confidence fails we can look to the lives of great Christians, hence the feast of All Saints'. We can be encouraged by their prayers and by the example of their lives. If they can do it, with the help of God, so can we. It is with the encouragement of All Saints' that we move on to remembering our dead before God at All Souls.

At All Souls names are read out and we are sad because we miss the company of our friends and family that have been separated from us by death. Here we face our own fears of death, our fears that dead friends are gone forever and that our deaths will the end of everything for us. We face our sadness and fear in order to master them. We master them through turning to our Christian hope. We remember that the Father created us, sustains us and loves us. We remember that Jesus lived, died and rose again to show us God's love. We remember that the Holy Spirit lives in each of us strengthening us and opening our eyes to see that God's love is indeed stronger than death or our fear of death. We look around and know that we are not alone, we are supported by Christians now and throughout the ages, we are supported by the holy angels all around us and we are supported by God himself.

In November we also remember and hope on Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day. Here it is particularly important that we remember and hope. Remembrance without hope is a recipe for despair. Don't despair, remember the words from the Bible, "See, the home of God is with humanity. He will dwell with them; they will be his people and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the former things have passed away." Revelation 21:3-4. This November remember and hope.

God bless you,

Revd Nigel Tuffnell

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