“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember.” You may recognise Ophelia’s words from Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’. Rosemary was used in Roman burial rites and the practice continued into the middle ages where mourners in funeral processions would carry sprigs of rosemary before casting them onto the coffin before burial.
At this time of year, we enter a season of remembering. All Saints’ Day (1st Nov) celebrates the women and men in whose lives God has been powerfully at work. It is an opportunity to give thanks, to be encouraged by the example of the saints. All Souls’ (2nd Nov) provides a more personal opportunity to all those who have died. In church we keep All Saints’ and All Souls’ on the nearest Sunday, which this year falls on 4th November. morning services will focus on All Saints’ and Evensong at Bremhill on All Souls’. At Christ Church, Derry Hill on 4th November we will hold our annual Service for All Souls at 3pm. This is a special time to remember with thanksgiving before God those whom we have known and loved: those who gave us life, or who nurtured us in faith, or indeed those whom we gave life and nurtured. In addition, you may light a candle and add a sprig of rosemary to a cross as part of your remembering.
The second Sunday in November is Remembrance Sunday, when our thoughts turn to those who have died in conflicts. This year, the second Sunday is also Armistice Day and the centenary of the Armistice which ended the hostilities of the First World War is being marked across the nation.
It can feel like there is a great weight of remembrance, so it helps to share our remembering in community, whether that is as a family, as wider society or as the church; you are welcome to all the services. When we meet week by week for worship, the church family remembers that for love of all God’s children Jesus died on the cross, rose to new life and calls us to live as God’s beloved. As author Molly Fumia says: “If I am to wear this mourning cloak, let it be made of the fabric of love, woven by the fine thread of memory.”
May you find healing and peace as you pray, love and remember.