What do you understand by the ‘All’ of ‘All Saints Day’? Who are the ‘All’? Sounds rather final. And that’s the paradox, because on the one hand ‘All’ conveys a sense of completeness, whilst on the other hand there remains a sense of open-endedness. For how can the number of the holy ones of God ever reach completion this side of heaven? Yet this paradox lies at the heart of the Gospel. We are cheered by the good news of Jesus Christ, our lives find meaning and purpose, we are accepted, welcomed into the Kingdom of God; but at the same time we are challenged because the gospel makes us feel uncomfortable, both of ourselves and the world in which we express our faith in our daily living.
The completeness of the gospel is found in its open-endedness, encapsulated in saintliness. Saints are not generally goody-goodies. In fact, history suggests quite the opposite! Saints are those who are able to convey a sense of the Kingdom that is bigger and brighter than others see, a vision that is all-embracing and yet who are for ever seeking that truth that is beyond completeness. In this festival we join with the ‘All’, praising God who is always bigger than we can either imagine or desire.
At our Acts of Remembrance (November 8th) we will be remembering all those who have lived and died in war as they sought to serve others. We will confess with shame those occasions when nations have lightly chosen war rather than seeking peace. We will pray for all who still suffer as a result of war and we will commit ourselves to serve their needs and to work with all our strength to see peace and justice established throughout the world.
There will be Acts of Remembrance at:
Hawkedon War Memorial at 9.30am;
All Saints’, Chevington at 10.45am;
and at Chedburgh War Memorial 10.45am.
Do join us for a Patronal Evening Prayer on Sunday, 15th November at 3pm. Because of the current restrictions this service will be held over Zoom and we are lucky to have a speaker, Robert Lant, who will give a talk on the life and times of St Edmund.
Edmund, whose feast day is 20 November, was King of the East Angles and was martyred in 870. Born around 840, Edmund was nominated as king whilst still a boy. He was crowned King of Norwich in 855 and of Suffolk the following year. As king, he was admired by his subjects for his care of the poor and his suppression of wrong-doing(although by all accounts this was pretty brutal). When attacked by the Danes, he refused to give over his kingdom or renounce his faith in Christ. Tied to a tree, he was shot with arrows and then beheaded. As one-time rector I must support the claim that he was buried in King’s Wood within the parish boundaries of Bradfield St Clare and acknowledge him as our true patron saint (though please don’t tie me to a tree, or worse, for such sacrilege).
Log on details are as follows:
Meeting ID: 838 4784 7443
‘How shall I sing that majesty which angels do admire?’
The annual cycle of the Church’s year ends with the Feast of Christ the King. The year that begins with the hope of the coming Messiah ends with the proclamation of his universal sovereignty. The ascension of Christ has revealed him to be Lord of earth and heaven, and final judgement is one of his proper kingly purposes. The Festival of Christ the King returns us to the Advent theme of judgement, with which the cycle once more begins.
The season of advent is about being alert, watching as we wait for the coming of the Christ-child. But as we wait we also prepare, and preparation means our doing something! There will be a Benefice Communion at All Saints’, Chevington at 10.30am, and in the evening some short Advent Reflections at All saints’, Rede at 6pm. What better way could there be to begin our preparations for Christmas before the hurly-burley overwhelms us all!