Saturday, 23 October 2010

Ahead of myself

You can read tomorrow's sermon for the Last Sunday of Trinity (which we're observing as Bible Sunday) online by clicking here and tweaking the scoll bar button. It looks blank until you do the tweaking and I just don't know why - but it's there!

The print edition of the November issue of our Parish Magazine is out ahead of time as well - and you can read it online in colour. You don't need to tweak the scroll button for this. Instead its eccentricity is to open on page 10. Use the tools to find your way around, blow it up to full page etc.

With All Souls' Day and Remembrance Sunday both playing central parts in November, I found myself writing about "Remembering."

Writing as I am on the day that the Government is announcing the extent of its Spending Review cuts, I’m glad to be able to approve at least one of its recent announcements: the appointment of Simon Schama to advise on the teaching of History in schools. And I hope the policy makers will actually listen to what he says! I’m afraid that much that is lacking in society today seems to be due to a loss of perspective - all too often decisions seem to get made on the hoof with attention only to the here and now. More generally people seem to lack a sense of what has gone before in terms of national and world history. Small wonder that people have little sense of the relevance of the events in Scripture 2000 years ago and more.

And yet I’m continually asked by people for advice on gaining access to parish records which might throw light on their family history. So can I say now that if they’re more than 30 years old in the case of St. Cuthbert’s, you almost certainly need to start at the Record Office in County Hall! - and there’s a legal requirement to deposit all parish records there if they’re over 100 years old. What those requests show is a desire to know where we come from - something of the lives of our forebears.

I’m moved when people tell me - often at a wedding or Baptism - that the name of a family member is recorded on one of the war memorials in our church (sometimes on both). I think of myself standing at the great memorial wall at Tynecot in Belgium where my great-uncle - with no recorded grave - has his name inscribed, and I placed my fingers in the engraved letters, one name among so many.

Part of the Eucharistic Prayer is called the anamnesis. We take bread and wine and remember, not as something past, over and done with - but something which is part of what we are because of what Christ has done for us. Something ever present and all the more real.

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