My Dear Friends,
November is a month when the Church remembers those who have passed from this life to a fuller life in God's nearer presence. We give thanks for the ‘faithful departed’ and in some traditions even pray for them, and ask them to pray for us.
This is also the month of All Saints Day (1st November) and All Souls Day (2nd November) and, of course, Remembrance Sunday which this year fell on Sunday 12th November.
On the first Sunday of Advent, 3rd December, we have our own Remembering Those We Love Service.
I want to share with you part of a deeply moving prayer called A Veil Thin as Gossamer by the late Rev George F MacLeod from a book of his prayers entitled The Whole Earth Shall Cry Glory. My prayer is that you may find comfort in these words, especially those of you who are feeling the pain of bereavement and for whom Christmas can be especially difficult.
Be Thou triune God in the midst of us as we give thanks for those who have gone from the sight of earthly eyes. They in Thy nearer presence, still worship with us in the mystery of the one family in heaven and on earth.
If it be Thy holy will, tell them how we love them and how we miss them and how we long for the day when we shall meet with them again.
God of all comfort, we lift into Thine immediate care those recently bereaved, who sometimes in the night cry ‘would God it were morning’ and in the morning cry ‘would God it were night’. Bereft of their dear ones, too often they are bereft also of the familiar scenes where happiness once reigned.
Lift from their eyes the too distant vision of the resurrection at the last day. Alert them to hear the voice of Jesus saying ‘I am Resurrection and I am Life’: that they may believe this.
Strengthen them to go on in loving service of all Thy children. Thus shall they have communion with Thee and in Thee, with their beloved. Then shall they come to know, in themselves, that there is no death, and only a veil divides, thin as gossamer.
Your friend and Locum,