November, it would seem is a month most suited to remembering, to memory of the past, those loves we have shared and sacrifices made. It begins on the day following All Hallows Eve or Halloween, when the Church Universal invites us to pause and remember the communion of saints – not just the big saints – not just those who have a miracle or two attributed to them – but the everyday saints: the Ray & Muriel Motley’s who sat in the back pew and with a wink and a smile reminded the preacher that dinner was waiting and shared baking and canning with the whole community; the Norma and Tom Orr’s who tirelessly gave of their time to ensure that resources were available for the Presbytery and that the Church roof was patched and the light bulbs replaced; the George Mundle’s, Ohra Collin’s Don Ripley’s, Janet MacLaren’s and Arden Fletcher’s who do all those things that need doing and do them without announcement or expectation of recognition; the Janet Hammock’s and Marilyn Lerch’s, the Terry and Bernice McMaster’s, the Catherine Gaw’s and Elsie MacDonald’s, the John and Judy Carlisle’s, the Jerry Hick’s and Stephen Puddle’s and Kathy Carr’s and Marion Holder’s and Gary MacDonald’s and Eldon Hay’s and Anne Pirie’s and the so very many others, too many to name, who practice gentleness and kindness and reflect love and grace…
One of the greatest privileges of ministry is to know these everyday saints and to have the opportunity to work alongside of them and witness the goodness and love that they bring to the world… and yes, while there is much grief when their life ends, it is a deep honour to preside at the celebration of a life well lived and share in the telling of a story that made a difference in the world.
November is also of course the month of remembering – capital ‘R’ and wearing a poppy. Since 1931 we have paused on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to remember: remember the end of the First World War on November 11th 1918 and the end of all the other wars since and the lives of those who died in the pursuit of peace. Join us next Sunday as we devote part of our Sunday Gathering to remembering those from our faith communities who have served their country in the goals of peace and justice.
And finally, November has become Movember for many, an opportunity to call attention to topics and issues that we men do a pretty good job at avoiding: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health. And yes, in November I do remember some of the men in my life that I’ve lost to these cancers and suicide – that’s why I’m taking part in Movember, growing a Mo, and raising funds for these important causes. You can support my efforts by making a donation through my Mo Space and watch my Moustache Grow!
Faithfully (with a hairy upper lip),
Today I am in the office early then accompanying an individual to medical tests in Moncton – unsure of when I’ll return. Tomorrow, following the Preacher’s Help Group I’ll again be in Moncton for a pastoral visit followed by a meeting with a colleague. Wednesday morning will have me preparing for http://www.psalms.com at 11AM followed by some preparation for Sunday morning and in the evening I’ll join the Sackville United Church Executive for their regularly scheduled meeting at 7PM. Thursday will be devoted to sermon writing and on Friday and Saturday I hope to enjoy some downtime before gathering with you again on Sunday, 9am at Upper Sackville United and 11am at Sackville United and on Facebook Live.