Hebrews 3: 12 (NIV Bible)

1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's house.

Dear friends

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Remember, remember the fifth of November
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

The opening of this poem is one that we all remember from childhood, and it could be said that the first 2 words sum up the month of November, (Remember, remember) in the Christian calendar. It starts on the 1st of November (mainly for Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Anglicans) all Saints Day is a universal Christian Feast that honours and remembers all Christian saints, known and unknown.

On the 2nd of November it is all Souls day, the commemoration of all the faithful departed, (again mainly for Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Anglicans)

Then of course there is bonfire night on the 5th of November, not a Christian festival but it came about by the struggle between Catholics and Protestants. In 1605, Guy Fawkes (also known as Guido) and a group of conspirators attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. After Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, English Catholics who had been persecuted under her rule had hoped that her successor, James I, would be more tolerant of their religion. James I, had, after all, had a Catholic mother. Unfortunately, James did not turn out to be more tolerant than Elizabeth and a number of young men, 13 to be exact, decided that violent action was the answer.

To carry out their plan, the conspirators got hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder - and stored them in a cellar, just under the House of Lords. But as the group worked on the plot, it became clear that innocent people would be hurt or killed in the attack, including some people who even fought for more rights for the Catholics. Some of the plotters started having second thoughts.

One of the group members even sent an anonymous letter warning his friend, Lord Monteagle, to stay away from Parliament on November 5th. The warning letter reached the King, and the King's forces made plans to stop the conspirators. Guy Fawkes, who was in the cellar of the parliament with the gunpowder when the authorities stormed it in the early hours of November 5th, was caught, tortured and executed. On the very night that the Gunpowder Plot was foiled, on November 5th, 1605, bonfires were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire Night.

Then we have Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday when we as a nation remember the Guns falling silent on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 minutes past the 11th hour to mark the end of the First World War and all the wars after that right up to the present day. This year we remember that it is 100 years since the end of world war 1 and 75 since the end of world war 2.

This year perhaps our remembering will be more poignant with Covid 19 and remembering those who we have lost to this pandemic (both those who are known to us and those we do not know) and remembering how it has changed the world.

And whilst we are remembering all of this we also remember (as we do every Sunday and every day) the price Christ paid for us on the cross. Keep remembering in the peace of God

Yours in Christ,

Rev'd Robert Sheard

United Reformed Church Minister of Stowmarket, Debenham, Stowupland, Mendlesham & Haughley

November 2020