Thought for the Month (November 2014)

My class and I used to enjoy the poem by Thomas Hood called November:-
No sun - No moon!
No morn - No noon!
No dawn - No dusk!
No proper time of day!

Then, eighteen No's later, he finishes with

No fruits - No flowers!
No leaves - No berries!

If we look at the weather only, it can definitely be a "No" month! I think Thomas Hood sums up the month: No, No, No, November! That could make us all depressed.

We remember the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 by the Catholics to blow up the Protestant King James I. Guy Fawkes was born into a Protestant family but converted to Catholicism and in his zeal agreed to guard the gunpowder under Parliament. (As I looked up the history of the Gunpowder Plot on 5th November 1605 I found the word "recusant" referring to Guy Fawkes. I don't think I am a recusant - are you?! Out with your dictionary or Google! The Fifth of November is another No, No!

Then, on 11th November, we celebrate Armistice Day and the end of the First World War, remembering the thousands of unbelievably brave men and women who fought for our freedom. This year, we are acknowledging the beginning of that war in 1914. Lesley Czich (of Tunbridge Wells URC) has been finding out about the men recorded on the Mount Pleasant and St Andrew's war memorials in church. I had a preview of the folder Lesley is preparing and it is fascinating. Please make sure you look at it. The whole theme of war is depressing but we see some very uplifting moments as well.

But let us look at some November, Yeses!
The First of November is All Saints' Day when we rejoice in the saints, the unseen cloud of witnesses, when we celebrate our heroes and role-models. The Collect for All Saints' Day says "Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou has prepared for them that unfeignedly love thee."

As well as thinking of all the old saints, perhaps include some modern ones - Sister Teresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Bishop Bell of Chichester, etc. I give thanks for the people who taught me my Christian faith, Sunday School and Youth Club leaders, Church Members, authors and pray-ers. All Saints' Day is a Yes, Yes, Yes!

Have you ever noticed a sentence in our Communion Service - "We thank you that we do not celebrate this supper alone but in company with all your people - past, present and to come. With them, and with all creation, we praise you and say
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord,
God of power and might,
Heaven and Earth are full of your glory,
Hosanna in the highest."

A big Yes here too!

But the biggest Yes comes on 30th November - Advent Sunday. Wow! We begin to really look forward to our great God breaking through into this world he made. He sent His own son in the form of a helpless baby, born to a poor couple in an animal outhouse, in the cold and dirt. God becomes human - he wants us to celebrate.

Yes, Yes. Yes - Hallelujah!

Audrey Mitchell (Elder, Tunbridge Wells URC)

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church