NEWS FROM S. MARY’S
November is a busy month in the Church’s calendar. We remember the departed, those who were known to us, and those who have died as a result of war. At the end of the month we celebrate Christ the King, and that is swiftly followed by the beginning of Advent.
All Saints – all of us hope to go to heaven. There are times when we worry that our lives are going to be found wanting and that heaven may be far from our reach. All Saints, however, is the one day of the year when the Church invites us to broaden our view and see heaven as that great place which one day we will call our home. This is the day when we celebrate all the many great men and women who are already there and whose prayers are being offered for us. Parish Mass 31st October 11:15 a.m.
All Souls – in the commemoration of All Souls, we acknowledge the reality of the human condition – that sinfulness and weakness are a part of every human life. We resist the temptation to canonise our loved ones simply because they have died – I’m sure you’ve heard the “oh they never did anyone any harm”. Though we love them dearly, we avoid any false romantic memories of those who have died. We remember them not because they were perfect, but because they were human. To admit this is not to be disloyal to their memory, but it is to face the truth about God and humanity: Christ died for us while we were still sinners. It is precisely this truth – as S. Paul tells us – which proves that God loves us. Today we surround our loved ones with prayer. Requiem Mass 2nd November 10:30 a.m.
Remembrance – a memorial day (also called Armistice Day, to recall the end of hostilities of the First World War, and the subsequent signing of the armistice). We observe two minutes silence at 11:00 a.m. on this day, to remember all those who have died in the line of duty as a result of the two world wars and other conflicts. Remembrance conveniently falls in the liturgical period of ‘Allsaintstide’. Parish Mass & Act of Remembrance 14th November 11:00 a.m.
Christ The King – the last Sunday of the liturgical year. We celebrate this solemnity giving special recognition to the dominion Christ has over all aspects of our lives and creation. Parish Mass 21st November 11:15 a.m.
Advent – when we not only prepare for the Nativity of the Lord, but awaken in our hearts the expectation of he ‘who is and who was and who is to come’. Revelation 1:8.
With a Canadian Rector at the helm of our Parish and the anticipation of the Harvest Supper on 1 October and the Harvest Lunch on 3 October (get your tickets soon!) it would be easy to start referring to this season as “Fall”. But here, in dearest old East Sussex, I think we’ll stick to Autumn, not least because I don’t want to venture into the Christian teachings about the Fall (of Man)!
Some folks don’t like the change of the Season into Autumn and the loss of the sunshine, warmth and airy breezes of summertime (not so much in fact in 2021!). But there is much to cherish in Autumn-time here in Buxted: the bright colours of the changing leaves and leaf fall as we walk the woods; the opportunities to light fires and stoves and be cozy; the deliciousness of seasonal fruits and foods. And there is much to reflect upon of value in our Christian lives at this time of year.
The bible only once mentions Autumn. In Jude 1:12, false teachers are compared to “autumn trees without fruit,” implying that Autumn should be a fruitful season, the most abundant of the year. So, how can we consider Autumn in our lives?
To kick off, changing seasons remind us that God is unchangeable. Goodness but have we had a challenging time this past 18 months. In so many different ways for so many people. And yet through it all we know that God has remained close by our side, a constant companion and guide; the Holy Spirit our comforter. As we are told of Jesus in Hebrews 13:8, “the same yesterday and today and forever.” It’s driven home by this verse from the popular hymn, Abide with Me:
“Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”
And Autumn also reminds us that things do come to an end, as the animals hibernate, the trees are bare and the plants die back to just their underground corms. So it can be useful to reflect on the things in our lives which we should let go, which often we carry and can burden us and which, with God’s good grace we can lay down and walk on from. Such things can take time to part from and for us to heal from our sense of loss and the weight which they have placed upon us but, thinking of the seasons’ metaphor: in Autumn, we know that Winter lies ahead, but when Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
God bless from us all at St Mary’s, where you are always sure to receive a very warm welcome.