Glencairn Methodist Church
A month of sinners and saints!
During November Autumn slides inexorably into Winter. In northern climes, many countries have "put their clocks back", thus sacrificing an hour's daylight in the afternoon in order to have an extra hour's daylight in the morning. We are now counting down the Sundays to Advent and before we know it, Christmas will be upon. Indeed the Christmas shopping season has already begun now that Hallowe'en is over, and the shops want us all to spend, spend, spend.
Yes, November was ushered in by the scary fancy dress and the fireworks displays of Hallowe'en. The Christian use of All Hallow's Eve, the night before All Saints' Day, is largely ignored by secular society, with Hallowe'en being another occasion to hold a party, albeit with pagan overtones. A young man was kicked to death in an English town that night because he had dared to challenge a drunken mob who had pinched his girlfriend's fancy dress hat. Certainly evil was abroad that night in addition to the harmless revelry.
In contrast to this, All Saints' Day was celebrated on 1 November by Christians all over the world, remembering all the "saints" - both the stained glass variety and the host of others each known only to a few - giving thanks for their witness and inspiration.
And then Remembrance Sunday was upon us. One of my favourite songs is Eric Bogle's The Green Fields of France, also known as No Man's Land. Here is a link to the lyrics. It is a poignant tribute to a young man who was killed in the First World War at the age of 19. The song speaks to me of the evils and horribleness of war - how it kills young people and widows their spouses and orphans their children. When a great evil is abroad in the world, then good men have no option but to fight it, even if they die in the process. The song also speaks to me of the absolute necessity to remember! To remember what war is really like and not to glamorise it! And to tell our children and our children's children so that they will not forget either this or the men and women who died that others might live, and live in freedom. Otherwise we are doomed to repeat history over and over again. Find better ways to settle disputes, oh ye statesmen and leaders of the nations!
Sin has its origins in the human heart. Each of us gets angry too easily and this turns to hatred and then to violence. Each of us wants to put ourselves first, to have power over others, to control their lives in one way or another. Jesus has the cure. Surrender your heart to him!
November ends on a high note again. 30th November is St Andrew's Day, the Patronal Festival of our little church in Glencairn. Andrew was one of the first people to answer Jesus' call to "Follow me". John's Gospel tells that he brought his brother Simon Peter to Jesus. This is surely the most wonderful thing anyone can do - bring your brother or your sister or your neighbour to Jesus.
9 November 2009
NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at http://glencairn.connor.anglican.org/previousmessages.htm