Some would say I have a brain like a sieve, but my memory is pretty good, I think. The problem is that I try to keep too much in it. Like the cartoon of the little boy at school who raises his hand and says ‘please may I be excused, my brain is full’. So I have discovered an excellent way of helping me to do the things I need to do – lists. That may seem obvious to most people, but my character has never been one which likes lists, and it is only in the past couple of years I have discovered the joy of crossing things I’ve done off a list, and knowing that I have come back from shopping with everything I set out to get.
And it is important that we write things down, so that we remember. Those who wrote down and kept the stories and prophecies, hymns, histories and teachings of the Bible knew that. They wanted to make sure that when later generations looked back they could see where they had come from, share stories of important things that had happened and remind people of the amazing things that God had done, and the love that God had shown to people through the ages.
November is a month where all of this is very pertinent. In some Churches at the beginning of the month All soul’s day will mean that people remember friends and relatives who have died who have been particularly precious to them.. On the 12th of November many of our Churches will be reading out lists, lists of people who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. We don’t do it just out of tradition, but as a very real reminder of the cost of freedom.
It’s important to remember that the lists of names which we have on the memorials around our villages have as much relevance to us today as they did fifty, sixty or more years ago. They speak to us today of something which still affects our world, for some people the memories still feel as fresh as they did then, for others of us the knowledge that all that we enjoy today in the way of freedom, prosperity and hope comes at a price.
And for those of us who know the reality of Christian faith, we too remember that our freedom came at a price, from the death of Jesus Christ. And we keep that memory alive just as we keep the memory of those who have died in the conflicts in our world in this past hundred or so years, because some things are too important to forget.