November Pastoral Letter from the Rector
It is a sad fact, that as we prepare to remember again those who have given their lives in war that we might live in freedom and peace, that people are still fighting and destroying one another. At the time of writing we are faced with a very uncertain future as the War on Terrorism continues. All through the past twelve months there have been countless battles that have filled our television screens and our newspaper headlines. It seems that our prayers for peace are so often in vain…should we give them up?…are we now so conditioned by the endless slaughter of millions that such an ideal is only a fanciful possibility?…are we now having to accept this endless killing as the norm of our human condition?
Still very much in our minds are the horrors of Auschwitz, Hiroshima, the ethnic cleansing of former Yugoslavia and more recently the deaths of Afghanistan and Syria with all the countless innocent lives lost throughout our world. Surely if we give up and start to accept such conflict as inevitable, as the ultimate state of our human potential, then all will be lost.
In my heart I know this picture cannot be the truth, because there is so much good and love in our world. In my heart I know that God’s love is with us, even in the depths of our despair.
The following poem was discovered on the dead body of an American soldier killed in action in North Africa in 1944. It is a forceful reminder of the mental torture of ordinary people before going into battle, but it also reveals the strength so many received from a caring God.
Look, God, I have never spoken to you,
And now I want to say ‘how do you do?’
You see, God, they told me you did not exist,
And like a fool I believed them.
Last night, from a shell-hole, I saw your sky,
I figured that they had told me a lie.
Had I taken time before to see the things you made?
I’d sure have known they weren’t calling a spade a spade.
I wonder, God, if you would shake my poor hand?
Somehow I feel you would understand.
Strange I had to come to this hellish place
Before I had time to see your face.
Well, I guess there isn’t much more to say,
But I’m glad, God, that I met you today.
The zero hour will soon be here,
But I’m not afraid now that I know that you’re so near.
The signal has come; I shall soon have to go,
I like you lots, this I want you to know.
I am sure this will be a horrible fight;
Who knows? I may come to your house tonight.
Though I wasn’t friendly to you before,
I wonder, God, if you’d wait at the door?
Look, I’m shedding tears, me shedding tears!
Oh! I wish I’d known you these long, long years.
Well, I have to go now, dear God, Goodbye,
But now that I’ve met you I’m not scared to die.
Remembrance Sunday is a day when we recall with gratitude the supreme sacrifice made by so many, that we might live in peace in a world of love. But as the horror of conflict rages on in our world, there is a danger of being without hope. The truth is, all is not lost…the majority of men and women are living peaceably together, there are signs of hope that must not get lost. East and West are beginning to trust one another a little more, the Cold War is a thing of the past, the work of the United Nations and NATO, the efforts made by many of the leaders of our nations to try and negotiate.
Despite our turbulent present and past, in the end we trust that good will overcome evil. In the victory of Christ on the Cross we see the ultimate defeat of evil and rejoice that in the resurrection God’s kingdom is being established.
Your friend and priest.
From the Rectors Desk
Remembrance Sunday is 10th November. The Parish Eucharist moves to 10.30a.m. to included an act of Remembrance at 11.00 a.m. The Service of Remembrance is at 3.00 p.m. when we welcome members of the Royal British Legion and uniformed organisations as well as other guests. The procession will move off from the library at 2.00 p.m.
Churches Together in Uckfield will be celebrating together at 6.30 p.m. on Sunday 24th November at Holy Cross Church.
Toys for Diocesan Family Support Work - we invite you to bring new unwrapped toys to the Christingle Services 10.00 a.m. Sunday 1st December at St. Margaret’s Isfield and 11.00 a.m. Sunday 15th December at Holy Cross Uckfield. If you be able to supply Christmas wrapping that would be tremendous. (Wrapped parcels have to be unwrapped!)
‘Keeping faith with loved ones departed’ Our Annual Memorial Service takes place at 11.00 a.m. on Sunday 17th November at Holy Cross. I shall be writing to the relatives of those whose funerals we have been involved with over the past twelve months to invite them personally, but if you know someone who might value this service of thanksgiving then please do invite them to come with you. It has been very well received over the years with very many positive comments.