The month of November, for me, is the month of remembering.

It begins with All Saints Day (1st) and then All Souls Day (2nd) followed rather quickly by Guy Fawkes and Fireworks and “Remember, Remember, the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.”

The church in Belton is dedicated to All Saints so the month begins with a celebration and a remembering of all the saints from the past that are an inspiration for the current generation and teach us what it means to be human and a follower of Jesus in the world today.

All Souls Day is a day that gives us opportunity to remember with thanksgiving before God people we have known and loved, who gave us life and nurtured us in the faith. It is a day when we can remember our own departed, rather than the heroes of the faith, and in which we can acknowledge our own grief and fragility. For many of us, remembering the loss of our loved ones is a daily event, and it may seems strange to have a day set apart for that purpose in the church calendar, however, it is meant to be helpful for healing, and an opportunity to honour those we have loved and lost in perhaps a more form way.

For many, the 5th of November is a nuisance, which upsets our pets with all the crashes, screaming and bangs of the fireworks being let off. However, it is a day when we remember the history of our nation, that a conspiracy to destroy the Houses of Parliament, King James I and the government of the day did not succeed. The people of London were so relieved that this attempt was not successful they lit bonfires across the City of London in celebration.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the 11th November, marks the day and time when World War I ended, and is an even more significant day in our nation’s history. On that day, and on the Sunday nearest to it (this year Sunday 13th November) we remember with gratitude the men and women who have fought for our nation in the two World Wars, the Falklands War, the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the human cost of war, and the lives lost by service men and women involved in the UN peace keeping forces; we hear the familiar words spoken …

They shall grow not 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. (Laurence Binyon)

This year the pupils of Moorlands Academy will come to church on Friday 11th November for their act of remembrance. On Sunday 13th, the congregation of All Saints will be joined by the Belton Scout Group for the Family Remembrance Service at 10.30am and Burgh Castle will have a traditional Remembrance Sunday Service at 3.30pm.

Remembering is such an important part of our lives. As we get older many of us become more forgetful, and find it more difficult to remember names; we may suffer from shortterm memory loss. It’s easy to worry that this might be an early sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but there can be many other reasons for this.

Remembering plays a huge part in who we are; our identity. Our surname tells us and others which family we belong to. The school, college or university we might attend, or groups that we belong to such as Scouts or Guides, builds our identity. Similarly, belonging to a church is part of our identity.

For Christians, belonging to God and finding our identity in Jesus Christ is perhaps the most important. We saw this in the faith expressed by the late Queen Elizabeth II, and her confidence in entrusting her whole life to Him, having believed in Jesus; finding and developing for herself a relationship with the living God. The Bible tells us that God remembers us by name, he knows the number of hairs on our head, and he loves us.

The Bible reminds us to be thankful for those who serve us, and those who enable us to live in freedom. The service men and women of the First and Second Worlds Wars certainly did that in that past, and we must be grateful for that, now and in the future. There are different symbols that we use to help us remember: a knotted handkerchief – as a reminder to do something; a wedding ring for marriage vows; a cross for Jesus; a memorial stone for a loved one who has died; a rainbow for God’s promise; a poppy for Remembrance Day. Whatever and whoever we choose to remember, let’s do it with thankfulness.