Traditionally, November is the month of Remembrance. We pray for those who have died, family and friends. Too, we recall and pay tribute to those who have died in conflict. Although customs may vary from one culture to another, throughout history humans have placed special emphasis on recalling those who have died. As people of faith we recognise that our relationships do not end with death, they simply move into a new phase, a new dimension. We live and die in a web of connections. These connections help to define who we are and who we desire to be.
The American playwright, Thornton Wilder wrote, “There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.” By remembering those who have gone before we pay tribute to them. Wilder also says, “The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.”
The month of November, this month of remembrance, gives us a space to express that gratitude through our prayers and to acknowledge the greatness and challenge, the audacity and courage, the suffering and joy that has shaped the lives of those who have shaped us. As we pray for them, we can be sure that they in turn pray for us.
1 John 3:1-2 New International Version (NIV)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Lord, Jesus Christ, you experienced all that it means to be human, including the loss of those you loved. You wept for your friend Lazarus and took pity on the poor widow who had lost her son.
When we feel the pangs of separation from our loved ones help us to always recall your profound love and compassion. Remind us with your gentle touch that in death life is changed not ended.
Give us the gift of gratitude, that we may recall the generosity and greatness of those who have gone before.
Let us live in your grace that we may build on their legacy and honour their memory.