November is upon us, with its celebration of All Saints’ (which we anticipate this Sunday), closely followed by All Souls’ (which we shall mark with a Solemn Requiem on Thursday, November 3). Then there comes Remembrance Day, when we pause to reflect on those who gave their lives in the two World Wars, and in conflicts since up to our own day.
We find aspects of our Christian hope in each of these three observances. All Saints’ gives us a glimpse of the glory of heaven which by grace shall one day be ours; the Church Triumphant, that great multitude which no-one can number of those who have shone with the light of Christ in their generation; the great heroes of the faith, yes, but also those quiet ones whose names are known only to God. On All Souls’ we remember the Church Expectant, our own loved ones and the faithful departed, trusting them to the nearer presence of God; that ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, they too may experience that joy of heaven. On Remembrance Day as we honour the fallen, we are brought face to face with the horror and futility of war, and compelled to renew our commitment to strive for the peace and reconciliation Christ came to bring.
Strengthened and encouraged by the prayers and example of those gone before, one with them in the Communion of Saints, we, the Church Militant, continue to live, work and pray for the coming of God’s kingdom here on earth as it already is in heaven.
“Now in the meanwhile, with hearts raised on high,
We for that country must yearn and must sigh,
Seeking Jerusalem, dear native land,
Through our long exile on Babylon’s strand.”
(From O quanta qualia by Peter Abelard, 1079-1142)
Download service booklet: Liturgy at Home Pentecost 21 October 30 2022.