Remembering, Re-membered and Remembrance

Remembering

This week I have been reminded of the importance of stopping and being attentive, noticing the echoes of God in the world around. The last few weeks have been somewhat hectic as I have tried to get settled into my new parishes, and get to know people, amidst the strange times of social distancing. Amongst many other things, one of my tasks was to think with a few others about what we might be able to ‘do’ over the coming months. A number of conversations and penned plans later, I watched the unfolding announcement of a second national lockdown.

I’m not sure why the news of this discombobulated me so much…perhaps it was a greater awareness, compared to March, of the great many losses that lockdown seemed to claim, whilst also recognising that it seemed that we had reached the point where it was, once again, necessary.

Re-membered

After that news we witnessed the US presidential elections, more aware than ever perhaps, of the importance of one decision for the lives of so many.

As I watched this unfold, in the midst of the leaves falling, I have become aware of our fragility…we have to shed in order to grow. As I led a Burial of Ashes service last week I heard the words of 1 Corinthians 15:36 for the first time, it seemed: “Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.”

I always love autumn, watching as the leaves turn and fall, but I have been really struck by the colour that the leaves seem to turn, or the colour of their veins – the red of hurt, pain, blood, conflict…and yet there will also come a time to notice the budding of new growth, green shoots, and a vibrancy of life. It is my hope and prayer that this will be the time to recollect all that we share, rather than to concentrate on what divides us.

Remembrance

This year Remembrance has taken such a different form. Those we wish never to forget have been remembered through online services, or with very small numbers gathered….

“We will remember”

And yet, “They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.”

I have been reminded this week of the importance of dwelling in God’s world, of taking time to be aware of God’s presence among us, and yielding to that, rather than the pressures we so often put on ourselves. It has been a re-membering of who I am called to be…and what I am, along with all of God’s people, called to do…in all things, and at all times; be bearers of light and hope!

The Bread of Love

Bread and jam or daily bread? 
Bread winner or maker? 
Bread of life or of love? 
Bread with raise or 
that which draws gaze? 
Bread of diversity: 
naan, chapattis, pita, 
flat bread, baguette, 
garlic bread and pizza….
It is kneaded – it grows, 
it feeds, it permeates
The bread of love

The body of Christ
broken for you
to preserve body and soul

Bread draws the world
in a never-ending meal.
Never just for bread, 
but something more real!
People gather near bread,
bread of life, of heaven – 
bread of love!
Manna given by God 
nourishes heart and soul
in the house of God,
not where we gaze at God,
but where God gazes on us!

The body of Christ
broken for you
for everlasting life

Bread because Jesus said
this is my body…
and so the ritual began.
Like the Emmaus journey;
disciples full of lament
met the risen Jesus
in broken bread.
It was the way he did it:
he took it, blessed it, broke it
and gave it to them…
the bread of love revealed!

The body of Christ
broken for you
to eat and remember

“Our hearts burned within!”
This bread of love,
more than bread,
more than being fed.
A nourishment stretching
to all of your being….
Take-bless-break-give
Jesus’ ‘real presence’
God-with-us now
in the gaze of the
self-giving Jesus
in the bread of love.

The body of Christ
broken for you
feed your heart with thanksgiving

It feels like acceptance,
true appreciation
of things said or done –
like a warm glow
but so much more!
Why then keep it,
or build barriers
around God’s table?
Protect the bread of love!
LGBT, disabled, disfigured,
marginalised people –
Step away from the bread!

The body of Christ
broken for you
that you may have faith

No – this banquet is holy,
utter inclusivity a necessity,
Jesus, offered for all!
This bread of love
transforms with a taste;
a meeting of souls.
As Meister Eckhart said,
‘your eyes which see God
are the same eyes through
which God first saw you.’
Great is the bread of love,
the mystery of faith!

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Speak out

#685 I’ve lit a #candle in memory of all those who have lost their lives in the #grenfelltower #fire. I have sat in my nice comfortable home with this small candle, well aware of my #privilege at having a home which is well looked after and does not put me in danger. I am also mindful of my #voice to speak up for those who fail to be heard in our society, and the huge responsibility which comes with that. As well as praying for those who are bereaved through this tragedy, I pray for courage for those who will be heard to speak out and for determination to not settle until ALL are safe in our homes and workplaces. AMEN. 

Remember

#602 #day19 of #lentchallenge with @bible_society #remember as #journalling of important details, thoughts and feelings.

We will remember

#472 As I remembered on the #eleventhhour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, I was drawn to think about #families in particular – those who have loved and lost. Family is where ordinary life happens, where we gather, where we squabble, where we are accepted and loved and where we love in spite of so much. Today I remember the many incomplete families of the past and the present, and their brave members who have sacrificed their own lives for the lives of many. #wewillrememberthem 

Treasuring the moment


#335 Where time is limited, how would you spend it and who with? What last things would you want to say? What would you treasure? What would you wish to be remembered for? #treasureeverymoment

We Will Remember Them

#104 We will #remember them.

The Call of Home
A river of tears cannot cleanse
The unseen wound which does not heal
There are more than battlefield shells
So many human shells return home
To the family never to be the same
Children once had a dad to turn to
Now he’s an island with a barrier reef
And she searches and searches in disbelief
She knows he’s in there somewhere
But she cannot find the path
She doesn’t know it’s a one way street
It’s his choice if they are ever to meet
In the land of trust where love is all around
When his spirit’s journey is homeward bound
It’s a long road to travel with many pitfalls
But when he stumbles her heart hears his calls
No company for him he must travel alone
But the family’s love is the beacon guiding him home
Home is where the spirit longs to be
Surrounded by love then it can be free

Louise Russell (at Ripon College Cuddesdon)