November is a month when we remember. The month begins with the festivals of All Saints and All Souls. All Souls in particular is when we are invited to remember and give thanks for loved ones we see no longer.
An All Souls service this November is on Sunday 3rd November, 3pm at St. James.
November also brings ‘Remembrance Sunday’ and of course, Bonfire Night when traditionally we remember the gunpowder plot. Keep safe if you are attending a bonfire and fireworks event.
The act of ‘remembering’ is at the heart of our worship. ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ is the instruction when we share bread and wine together. Doing so, God’s saving acts are remembered in and through Jesus Christ. In an age when computer and smartphone memory is growing fast there is an important message to humanity. You cannot delegate memory to machines. In the Eucharist and the other acts of remembering mentioned, we have to constantly renew our memory and teach it to the next generation. Parents who attend worship, your challenge is to tell your faith story to your children, to teach them, to pass on your faith.
The act of remembering is not one we should take for granted. What happens to faith when you can no longer remember, for example, if you suffer from dementia?
Firstly, all of us including people with dementia are made in the image of God and therefore reflect God’s image.
This means that every person whatever their mental abilities displays in part what God is like.
Secondly, people with dementia are loved by God.
Thirdly, community is important. Jesus says, ‘when two or three are gathered I am with them.’
As part of a church community, people with dementia are still be in the presence of Jesus.
The person travelling down the dementia road is no less valued or loved by God, ... it is our extrinsic relationships with other persons that confer on us our identity as a ‘self’, and it is the loving relationship that God maintains with us that constitutes the ... image of God.
The apostle Paul sees the Church as being like a body in which
every part helps and supports the others.
This means that everyone has something to offer. Churches should seek ways to receive the gifts and insights of all people.
Without people living with dementia, the Church is incomplete and cannot gain from everyone’s experiences.
See ‘A poem about my wife.’ A powerful account of how dementia changed two lives.