‘… They will be remembered forever.’ Psalm 112.6
‘Do this in remembrance of me’. Matthew 22.19
A quote from the Psalmist and from the very mouth of Jesus himself recorded in Matthew’s gospel. Remembrance! Perhaps one of the main reasons for the continued existence of the church in today’s society; to remember. To remember the story of humanity in relationship with God, to remember significant events that remind us where we have journeyed ourselves, as a community or as a nation. All of these have been encapsulated in recent memorials in our church and community. Let’s recall in words and pictures those events.
October 21st was the 50th Anniversary of the Aberfan Disaster and we came together with the people of Aberfan to remember the horror of the events that took place on the 21st October 1966 at 9.15 in the morning. Concerts and services were held, trees were planted and HRH The Prince of Wales visited Aberfan and spoke to the people there. A sad and traumatic time as we gathered to remember, in particular, the children who lost their lives but not forgetting those adults who died in the same tragedy.
November 2nd is the day known as All Souls day. In the morning there was a requiem mass said by Fr. John in St. David’s and in the evening there was a personal service of remembrance as people gathered at St. Tydfil’s to remember their own departed loved ones. Many who attended the service were invited because they had lost someone during the last 12 months and it had been the privilege of the clergy of the parish to conduct the funeral service for the person they came to remember. Many also came to light candles for those they had lost in years gone by. At most church services our departed loved ones are remembered but this is a special commemoration.
November 7th saw the Lost and Loved Babies service which is organized by the midwives at Prince Charles Hospital and conducted at St. David’s. We invest so much of our own future in our children that when they are taken from us so young it is very difficult to come to terms with. This service allows us to remember that hope and through the service to speak to God about our loss. People are able to write messages and poems to express their thoughts or to address their lost children. These messages are then read out in the service. Candles are lit as a sign of hope.
November 11th is Remembrance Day. Many from and across our communities come together on Remembrance Sunday to give thanks for those who gave, or were willing to give their lives that we may live in peace and freedom today. It is hoped that by remembering what we did and what they did we may not make that same journey again. That each day we might appreciate our freedoms and protect them. We need to respect all of humanity, equally, and hold life itself as the most precious of our possessions. Our governments are charged with keeping the peace and governing for the safety and welfare of all people. At times this will make them unpopular but that is the price of taking on the responsibility of governing.
Those who gave their lives believed that in so doing they would hand over a better world to future generations; today we need to honour the debt they paid and honour those we have remembered in whatever way over this period of remembrance by caring more deeply for each other and the for the world that God made us custodians for.