Eric Hobsbawm whose book Age of Extremes I’m reading at the moment complains that most people grow up “In a sort of permanent present lacking any organic relation to the public past of the times they live in. This makes historians, whose business it is to remember what others forget, more essential than ever before.” He’s talking, of course, about the late twentieth century, but I suspect it could equally be applied to today.
November is a month of remembrance, an important corrective, to our lives of permanent present. We remember and give thanks for the Saints who, going before us, give us a glimpse of the possibility of God’s potential action, purpose and influence in our lives. Ordinary people, who, by leading extraordinary lives of principle, bravery, or simple humility, transform the situations and people they encounter. We celebrate All Souls’ Day, of family and friends who have been such an important source of stability, love and direction. We are who we are because of the people we encounter on our journey through life. All Souls is an opportunity to commit them to God, in thanksgiving and hope. Finally we remember the fallen, brave men and women who followed a call and gave their lives for our freedom. Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends. Living as we are at a time of great flux, it is important to ground ourselves in the past, not to stifle the present, or prevent the future, but to to enable us not waste time repeating past mistakes.
The weather during the past week has been somewhat mixed, but on the days when the sun has been shining the colours of the trees and the sunsets have been glorious. I came across the following quotation this week by Fr Kallistos Ware, Bishop in the Eastern Orthodox Church, which sums up for me the glory of creation:
‘Nature is sacred. The world is a sacrament of the divine preserve, a means of communication with God. The environment consists not in dead matter, but in living relationships. The entire cosmos is one vast burning bush, permeated by the fire of the divine power and glory’.
What a marvellous description!
With every blessing