Monthly Letter

Silverdale, Guiseley

It is generally believed that King Solomon was the writer behind that little Old Testament book, Ecclesiastes. In chapter three he is reflecting on his life and comes to recognise that there is ‘a time for everything, and a season for every activity under Heaven’ (Ecc.3:1).

As a young and somewhat melancholic teenager, I used to boast that autumn was by far my favourite season, made up of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ to quote John Keats. As I have grown older I have come to experience autumn as a time filled with memories. All Saints Day on 1 November begins the season, as we remember all the saints and martyrs of the Christian faith who set courageous examples for us through their lives and sometimes their deaths. This is followed on 2 November by All Souls Day when we remember all the departed. This remembrance is continued for us at our memorial service, on Sunday 4 November at 4.30pm, for all those of us who have lost someone in the more recent past, and includes the opportunity to light a candle of remembrance.

This year we are also remembering the end of World War 1. You may ask why would we want to remember a war that no-one living can actually recall? To answer that I go back to King Solomon again, for this is a time to remember, a time to reflect, to bare sorrow, to show relief, to confess, to keep silent and to sing out loud. It is also a time to pray, that lessons learned from the past might be lived out in the future. Here at St Johns we have been sharing our worship space with some tangible reminders of the First World War. Our pews have been occupied by five perspex ‘Tommys’, There but not There…reminding us week by week of the fifty Menston men who sacrificed their lives in that war.

Our Remembrance Day service on Sunday 11 November will no doubt be attended by many who do not come to Church very often. The last few years have seen growing numbers at this service and we have to get the balance right, ensuring that whilst jingoism is kept at bay we can give thanks for the peace that we enjoy, whilst remembering those places around the globe where there is still unrest and warfare.

World War 1 was meant to be the war to end all wars. Tragically this proved not to be the case, and our memories stand as important reminders of all that is good and not so good about humankind. Back in Ecclesiastes we read ‘I know now that there is nothing better for us than to be happy and do the best that we can whilst we are alive, secure in the knowledge that life itself is a precious gift given to us by God’.

My prayers are for a peaceful, thankful memory filled month.

God Bless








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