In November the church moves into a season of remembrance: All Saint’s Day is swiftly followed by Remembrance Sunday.
During a recent online meeting I was stirred into an early taste of remembrance when I found myself in the company of a couple of people I had the pleasure of spending time with nearly 12 months ago when we were fellow delegates from the URC attending a gathering in Frankenthal, Germany as we reflected on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with friends from the Evangelical Church of the Palatinate. The conversation took an inevitable twist. None of us could believe all that had unfolded since we had left one another’s company at St Pancras on our return from Germany last November. Only 12 months ago a trip like that seemed relatively normal. We could travel freely between the UK and Germany, enjoying a very brief stop-over in Paris, without having to worry about quarantine periods, risk assessments and R rates. This November the same journey would be considered such a high risk that it would be virtually impossible. All three of us clearly missed the freedom that a non-Covid world had provided, a freedom which we had taken for granted, which we now longed to return. Sadly, none of us could predict when the return of such freedoms would come.
I do not in any wish to compare the current situation with the events of the world conflicts of the last century but those conflicts involved a loss of freedom too. My parents generation, amongst others, made huge sacrifices in order to defeat ideologies that threatened the freedom of everyone. Today we are required to restrict our lifestyles and choices so that we prevent the spread of a deadly virus and keep everyone as safe as possible. We remember the days when such restrictions were unnecessary with longing.
It is good and helpful to remember so that we can work towards building a future when those things we have enjoyed return once again. As people of faith we remember the peace of the Garden of Eden in order to rebuild Eden. We long for the day when the weapons of war are transformed into the tools that feed the hungry. I remember a trip to Germany to meet old friends and make new ones and I will look forward to the day when these joys return.
With love and prayers