Redemption is a work of God’s grace; it is God who redeems us in Christ
and there is nothing to be done beyond what Christ has done. But we still
wait for the final consummation of God’s new creation in Christ … We
also sense that it is a fearful thing to come before the unutterable goodness and holiness of God, even for those who are redeemed in Christ …
Remembrance Sunday goes on to explore the theme of memory, both
corporate and individual, as we confront issues of war and peace, loss and
self-gift, memory and forgetting.
Common Worship, Times and Seasons
The period of November is a tricky beast. One simply counted down as ‘weeks before Advent’ in the season of Trinity, it has become – in a slightly optional manner – ‘The Kingdom Season’, AKA ‘All Saints to Advent‘ in the Times and Seasons Common Worship material.
The principal advantage, from my perspective, is to shed the unrelenting green that has droned on for the last twenty-odd weeks and brighten up the place with a bit of red.
It contains with it key moments to engage with the community – namely All Souls (used by many Churches as an opportunity to engage with recent funeral families and with others in the community who wish to grieve corporately) – and Remembrance Sunday. It takes hard work, however, not to find yourself endlessly repeating yourself: All Saints and All Souls can become a bit muddled; All Souls and Remembrance can feel as though they’re covering the same ground; and the Feast of Christ the King can end up being Advent Lite.
But the opportunity it offers, is to draw together the themes of remembrance and sorrow, death, sin, courage and triumph that we find rolling through All Saints/All Souls, Remembrance Sunday and the Feast of Christ the King. Seen as a whole, instead of a series of vaguely similar events, it becomes a season of Remembrance and Hope.
It is also a chance to bring the feel of the cosmic season (ie late autumn) into the worship of the community, to think about the colours and flowers used in the decoration of the building, and to engage with the feeling of melancholy that inevitably suffuses November.
Done thoughtfully, the move into the starkness of Advent mimics the move from Autumn into Winter. We move from a very corporate examination of the ultimate triumph of God to the sombre recollection of our own inevitable judgement.