An address given to a Christian group of women in November, 2003.
"There's rosemary; that's for remembrance; pray you love, remember." Hamlet Act. 6 Sc.5. l. 173)
I can still remember as I was growing up in a small country town in Australia, my mother used to take special care of her rosemary bush ; it always meant something extraordinary to her. I also remember that in November many adults, including my mum, wore a sprig of rosemary on the lapel of their coats or frocks. November was a special time to remember. When I grew older and wiser I was able to link the wearing of a sprig of rosemary with my Mum's rosemary bush. Her father, my grandfather had been one of the ANZACS who had landed at Gallipoli on 25th April, 1915, and then gone on to fight in France before being killed in battle during World War I. "Pray you love, remember." My Mother certainly did and so did most of her generation and mine of the cost of that war when the flower of youth of the Motherland and her Empire became but decay and dust.
As I ponder about the meaning of remembrance then and to-day, I perceive differences. So much of what I remember as being important does not seem to be. Let me give a few examples.
So much of the Christian fabric has been shredded because we have not remembered, often deliberately, as it pricks some spark of conscience still left in man. We have turned our backs on our Christian heritage, we have not remembered that Europe is the product of the learning and leadership and spirituality of the Benedictine monasteries. Thus by default we abandon what we should treasure to others. In one hundred years’ time, it will not be a matter of whom and what shaped Europe but who runs it.
The celebration of the great Christian festivals has been taken over by the secular world so that we do not remember anymore what is the significance of the Easter egg, or giving presents at Christmass or the skeleton at Hallow E'en. The Lord of the Dance is not remembered.
Society is now a collection of individuals, all pressing for gratification. Family values have been forgotten because we have chosen not to remember what we were taught in our youth the importance of honouring our parents of being a member of the family rather than an individual of putting the family before our wants of the family get together at meal times when prayer and conversation were shared.
Governments are corrupt because they have chosen to ignore and not to remember that Church and Commonwealth stand on two hills together to lead and to inspire. Good government must be based on Christian morality.
Marriages fail because we do not want to remember the implications of the vows made. Having said that I know there are some genuine reasons for marriages to breakdown. But often not enough effort is spent to salvage and to remember the love that was there initially. "Pray love remember", we have not.
Cohabitation abounds even amongst Christians as they do not want to remember the Church's teaching, based on the New Testament teaching of marriage. Abortion also abounds as many choose to deny the right to live of every foetus. They do not remember the commandment "thou shall not kill".
We are supposed to be our brother's keepers but we choose not to remember God's command to care for the poor, the imprisoned, the homeless etc. We turn a blind eye to the needs of others so often as a country and individual. Pray love, Remember. We have not.
This is not the way we are met to live, and by casting our minds into the past and also in the present we can ascertain how important remembrance is for tribes, nations and families. Life revolves around ars de memoria. This is especially true when oral traditions are very much part of a culture. Stories - that have been handed down from one generation to another for thousands and thousands of years, which are the histories of particular cultures. In the indigenous people throughout the world stories are important because every generation is taught to remember its ancestry and history. Remembrance is embedded into respective tribes.
As an Australian I am going to use our own indigenous people as an example as to how this works. The aborigines live in various outback regions in Australia, but each tribe has its own territory and culture. All have their time of getting together, often referred to as a corroboree. Around a campfire, near to a water hole and often to the beat-like music from the didgeridoo, they tell their ancestral stories to the younger generation and even to themselves so that they will remember. Collectively these stories are known as Dreamtime and they explain how the land came to be shaped and inhabited; how to behave and why; where to find certain foods, and how to survive.
The expression 'Dreamtime' also refers to the 'time before time', or 'the time of the creation of all things', while the term 'Dreaming' refers to their belief in their Ancestor Spirits, which could be animal, fish or even an object as well as a person who came to earth to create the land, rivers, hills, and so on. Once this work was done these spirits remained and that is why land is sacred to the indigenous as well as the past being so important and vital.
If you were an aborigine living in Ngiyaampaa Country in outback New South Wales, gathered around a campfire, this is one of the stories you would hear and - a story about creation and the land belonging to Eaglehawk and Crow and how the Darling River was made which flows through Ngiyaampaa. Now long, long time ago of course, in the beginning, when there was no people, no trees, no plants whatever on this land, "Guthi-guthi", the spirit of our ancestral being, he lived up in the sky. So he came down and he wanted to create the special land for people and animals and birds to live in.
So Guthi-guthi came down and he went on creating the land for the people-after he'd set the borders in place and the sacred sights, the birthing places of all the Dreamings, where all our Dreamings were to come out of. Guthi-guthi put one foot on Gunderbooka Mountain and another one at Mount Grenfell. And he looked out over the land and he could see that the land was bare. There was no water in sight, there was nothing growing. So Guthi-guthi knew that trapped in a mountain, called Mount Minara there lived the water serpent, Weowie, but he was trapped in the mountain. So Guthi-guthi called out to him, "Weowie, Weowie", but because Weowie was trapped right in the middle of the mountain, he couldn't hear him.
Guthi-guthi went back up into the sky and he called out once more, "Weowie", but once again Weowie didn't respond. So Guthi-guthi came down with a roar like thunder and banged on the mountain and the mountain split open. Weowie the water serpent came out. And where the water serpent travelled he made waterholes and streams and depressions in the land.
So once all that was finished, of course, Weowie went back into the mountain to live and that's where Weowie lives now, in Mount Minara. But then after that, they wanted another lot of water to come down from the north, throughout our country. Old Pundu, the Cod, it was his duty to drag and create the river known as the Darling River today.
So Cod came out with Mudlark, his little mate, and they set off from the north and they created the big river. Flows right down, water flows right throughout our country, right into the sea now.
And of course, this country was also created, the first two tribes put in our country were Eaglehawk and Crow. And from these two tribes came many tribal people, many tribes, and we call them sub-groups today. So my people, the Ngiyaampaa people and the Barkandji further down are all sub-groups of Eaglehawk and Crow.
With stories like that, it would not be hard, would it, to remember your history and ancestory. You would indeed remember it well to tell around another campfire and to your children.
The ancient religions also had their special times of coming together to remember some special event, especially those connected with the cycle of nature. However I am going to take as my example, the ancient religion that was different the Jewish. They may not have had regular campfires to recite their stories, but they had other occasions to recite. Indeed all their Torah and traditions were and are based on remember - remembering- remembrance.
Recordanado recordere, 'remember; and while you are remembering, remember still,' that is, remember so that at no time it may slip out of your memory, but that at all times you be careful and diligent to keep it; to keep it in mind, that you may the better observe it in practice. This was the teaching drummed into every young Jew.
The most important occasion for this was and is the annual observance of Pascha.
This day shall be unto you for a memorial; and you
shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your
generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
In succeeding generations after the Exodus every Jew was made to feel as though he himself had gone forth from Egypt, as it is written: 'And you shall explain to your child on that day, it is because of what the Lord did for me when I, myself, went forth from Egypt ...' not only our ancestors alone did the Holy One redeem but us as well, along with them, as it is written:
'And he freed us from Egypt so as to take us and give us the land which he had sworn to our fathers.'
Thus to explain why the family observed the annual Pascha, the youngest male present at Seder asks this question "Why is this night different from all other nights?" To which the head of the house recalls the Jewish deliverance from bondage, so that all present will remember that their God, Yahweh, freed them from slavery and from the oppression of the Egyptians. God slayed all their first-born, and spared the Jewish boys. He clogged the wheels of the Egyptians' chariots as the Israelites crossed the Reed Sea led by Moses.
The Seder, i.e. Passover Meal, itself is symbolic in that everything that is eaten makes the Jews remember their freedom: roast lamb, remembers their deliverance, parsley dipped in salt water, recalls the tears shed by the Hebrew slaves, haroseth, a sweet paste made from apples, nuts, honey, wine and spice, remembers the bricks the Israelites were forced to make, bitter herbs, remembers slavery by the Egyptians, and a roast egg, recalls the promise of new life in a new land flowing with mild and honey.
Indeed the Christian keeping of the Easter Vigil parallels the Jewish Pascha, evident in the Exsultet or Paschal Proclamation chanted by the deacon as the new light is carried into the darkened church. We remember:
This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.
This is the night when first you saved our fathers:
led them dry shod through the sea.
This is the night when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!
This is the night when Christians everywhere, washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.
This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.
When we peruse the Old Testament we also become aware of other significances of remembrance for this chosen race. After the Flood God made a covenant, with the rainbow as the symbol of it. "And the bow shall be in the cloud' and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." Gen.9.16.
Later God made a covenant with those great Jewish fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
With Abram this was the gift of land from the river of Egypt to the great Euphrates, Gen.15.18. to be the father of many nations 17.2 and to all thy seed 17.7.
And you and your seed shall keep my covenant, of which circumcision after eight days is the sign. 17.11
Isaac and his seed is promised the same land 17.21, as is Jacob and his seed 25. 12.
God later tells Moses of these three covenants He made with his Fathers of living in the land of Canaan. Ex. 2.4 and that He Yahweh has remembered this covenant and therefore will deliver the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt. Ex.2.5.
Then in their wanderings in the wilderness, the Israelites are reminded that if they repent of their wanton ways, and remember the covenant God made with their forefathers, He, Yahweh will remember the covenant he has made with their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And he will not deprive them of the promised land . Lev. 26. 42-45
The giving of the Ten Commandments was the Covenant God made with Moses and the descendants of Abraham on their pilgrimage to the Promised Land. They were exhorted pray love, Remember.
'Remember' it therefore to do it, and observe it, as Moses said; and because God hath set His heart and His stamp upon it, so to have it observed and advanced; set not you your foot upon it, so to have it contemned and trodden on. He hath committed ten matters of great trust unto you, these ten commandments, and all the duties that depend upon them; and in keeping of them there is great reward. He will recompense you largely for your pains; but above all the ten, there is one among the rest, this one, which with a memento doubled over, He recommends to your special regard and to your principal care. In anywise therefore forget not, neglect not, but remember that. [Cosin. Vol. 1, 156/7]
The 'double' one is the Fourth. Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy.
`Remember' that we keep it holy; for by our doings we seem, most of us, to have forgotten it full profanely. But then to see what poor excuses we make for our negligence and to think that any answer will serve God's turn, this is worse than forgetfulness, worse than the negligence itself. So wrote a divine in the 17thC. [Cosin. Vol. 156].
The Old Testament has also many examples of how various kings and prophets seek God to remember them in their distress or not to remember their iniquities. For example in his sickness after Isaiah tells him that death is imminent, so get your house in order Hezekiah prays. "I beseech thee, O Lord, remember how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight." 2Kings.20.3. And God does remember him and heal him.
The New Testament too has examples. Of all the Gospels it is Luke who used that word "Remember" the most all of them to emphasise crucial events. Perhaps the first one that comes to mind is the plea of the penitent and dying thief, "Remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he is assured that Our Lord won't 23.42. At the beginning and end of this Gospel there are significant remarks. In the Birth Narratives, Zachariah, after the birth of John announced "And remember his holy covenant", that is, the covenant God had made with Abraham and his descendants 1.72. At the tomb, the women were told by the angels, "Remember how he spake unto you in Galilee" when He told you have he must be crucified but he would rise on the third day. "And they remembered these words." And reported to the apostles and all who were gathered (24.6-8).
Luke records Jesus using this word too.
Remember Lot's wife. 17.32. Remember what happened to her when she disobeyed God's command.
This reminds me of a famous sermon delivered in the 1590's at a time when sermons were clearly structured to aid the process of remembering and recalling. One such divine who used ars de memoria to its best was Lancelot Andrewes who took as his text for a Lenten sermon these very words of Jesus. "Remember Lot's wife." In reference to what happened to her by her disobedience, even though she had been previously faithful, he preached:
"Remember the danger and damage, ... remember the folly, ... remember the disgrace, ... remember the scandal, ... remember the infamy, ... remember the judgment, ... [and] remember the difficulty of reclaiming to good" by the example of Lot's wife. Therefore "Remember we make not light account of the Angel's serva animam tuam; ... remember, we be not weary to go whither God would have us; ... remember, we slack not our pace, ... remember we leave not our hearts behind us, but that we take that with us" as we continue on that journey to Sion. What we do now, determines our future, that is, our eternal salvation.
I think his auditors would have got the message about the "eternal now" as being the most important moment in our lives eternal life is dependent on remembering God now.
Of all the "remembers" the most significant in the New Testament, not only in Luke's Gospel but also the other Synoptics, is "Do this in remembrance of me" uttered by Our Lord during the Supper before His death.
What are we asked to remember? Christ's death until His coming again.
Remembrance by definition means recalling an event that is past and complete. However the kind of remembrance we have at the Eucharist is different. We refer to it by its Greek name anamnesis which although recalling events of the past remembers them in the present tense. So the priest prays, "Father, we now celebrate the memory of Christ, your Son."
After the words of institution, the priest continues, "We, your people and your ministers, recall his passion, his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into glory; and from the many gifts you have given us we offer to you, God of glory and majesty, this holy and perfect sacrifice the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation."
Thus every time the Eucharist is celebrated we are recalling, remembering in a special way, Christ's death and passion, linked with the consecration of Bread and Wine to become the Body and Blood of Christ as commanded by Christ to be our heavenly food on our pilgrimage. This is the principal reason for having churches so that the faithful can gather in remembrance. Pray love, remember that Christ died for you and gives His own life to you, daily if you want.
Whilst talking about Churches, the Church, especially in earlier times, was in some ways like our indigenous people. They used various stories, symbols and signs so that people would remember their faith. Crucial to that faith is the Incarnation and so over the meadows and in villages would be heard the bells of the local church three times a day summing all to stop work and recite the Angelus. "And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us." "Pray for us O Holy Mother of God that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ."
When the local people gathered in their churches for worship the sacring bell was rung to let all present know that now on the altar was the Lord Himself, and for them to give due reverence and to cease their private devotions. Before entering the church, all dipped their fingers in the holy stoop and made the sign of the cross to remind them of their baptism in the Trinitarian God and that they had been marked Christ's forever.
Stained glass windows were originally constructed to teach aspects of the Bible to the predominately illiterate population, so that they would remember the Scriptural accounts of their God, both in the Old and New Testaments. Plays were also enacted to help the ordinary people to grow in understanding of the Faith. Pilgrimages were made to remember the saints who had overcome all their weaknesses and imperfections or had died for their faith. They were their inspirations in their precarious day to day living. Ikons too were and are a strong source of remembrance, especially the Eastern ones. The whole reason for an ikon is to point to the Lord of all creation. That is why in Orthodox iconography of our Lady you never see her depicted by herself. She is always Theotokos, Mother of God, with one of her hands pointing to her son. Pray love remember He is the source of salvation.
Church bells to-day in still remind us of the Incarnation, to remember the departed, and to remember to honour the Resurrection on Sundays.
The great Augustine tells us that we humans are distinguished by three capacities: memory, understanding and love. We have seen this with our indigenous people and it is true even with us. So much of our life revolves around ars de memoria. Recalling, digging deep into the subconscious to remember a name, a face, a fact, a reminder or request are part of our everyday lives. How often have we said or had said to us some of the following:
"Remember me in your prayers." "Do you remember being there?" How lovely it is of you to remember me after all this time." "Do you remember that very holy priest we had some time ago?" "Remember to pick up your lunch." Remember to be home early," "Remember to say your prayers." "Remember what I have said."
But juxtaposed are those remarks we make about the difficulty of remembering: "I have a hard time remembering what I did yesterday." "I am sorry, but I do not remember your name." "I cannot remember what I got up for." Indeed, I wonder how many of you this time to-morrow will remember what I have said.
Why do we not remember or remember easily? We need stimuli.
Places, people, events, museums, art galleries, poetry, song and letters often provide the right stimuli and they take us down memory lane. Take a poem.
Let me try this one on you, and see what it evokes, and change the mood slightly.
It is appropriately called Try to remember.
You wonder how these things begin
Well, this begins with a glen;
it begins with a season,
Which for a better word,
You might as well call September.
It begins with a forest where leaves wax green
and vines intwine like lovers.
Try to see it, not with your eyes for they are wise,
But see it with your ears,
the cold green greening of the leaves,
and hear it with the inside of your hand;
the soundless sound of shadow flickering light
We call that secret place, you've been there,
you'll remember, that special place,
where once in your crowded sunlight life-time
you hid away in the shadows from the tyranny of time.
That spot beside the clover where someone's hand held your hand
and love was sweeter than the berries and the honey
and the stinging taste of mint;
September, a perfect time to be in love.
It is not September but has it turned the clock back for you? Do you remember the first time you were enchanted with love? I can. It was a summer's night on one of Sydney's beaches sitting under the gaze of the moon, holding hands as we listened to the waves crashing on the sand. Time seemed to stand still, but not still enough for we had to or at least I had to be home by a certain time. And one would spend the next day remembering the magic of that evening, and the next day too.
An event such as a funeral will also trigger remembrances. I was very much reminded of this when home in Australia recently for a funeral. Kneeling in Holy Trinity Church, Dubbo before Mass began so much came flooding back as I prayed and thought of Ralph. In this church, I had spent so many years of my earlier life. All kinds of happenings, people, and experiences that I had not thought much about for ages were all afreshed as if time stood still. "Pray love remember." Yes, I surely did, and you have too in a similar situation when we remember the life of the departed one, usually with affection, and at the wake many, many stories are shared in remembering our loved ones.
Now I would like to return to November being a special time of remembrance. The 11th day of this month is known as Remembrance Day in England and the Commonwealth for at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we pause to remember the dead in battle, originally after World War I where the flower of youth of these countries was made cannon fodder.
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And the bugles calling for them from sad shires.
Written by a young soldier, 25 years old when killed just a week before the signing of the Armistice in 1918. He was one of approximately nine million fatalities during this most horrific encounter of human beings against fellow human beings. To-day Wilfrid Owen would not readily recognise the niceties of our bugle sounds on the 11th nor our commendation
Thou shall not grow old as we are left to grow old,
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn
But as the going down of the sun
And in the morning we shall remember them.
Rather it would be
Let us remember
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
(Anthem for Doomed youth)
For Christians November is also a time to remember, heralded in by two significant commemorations. All Hallows or as we mostly know as All Saints, followed by All Souls. All Saints' Day is one of the very early feasts kept by the Church, beginning in the 4th C. Hallow Eve was kept as a Vigil in preparation for this great feast. But long before this the early Christians remembered their fellow Christians, many of whom had been martyred, at gravesides. At the catacombs or elsewhere Christians gathered to celebrate the Eucharist and often recalling accounts of martyrs in remembrance.
Those accounts were written by eye-witnesses to martyrdoms and then circulated to the various churches to not only remember their departed brothers and sisters but also as an encouragement in time of persecution to stand faithful to Christ, whatever the cost.
One particular account was written of the martyrdom of the octogenarian Polycarp, Bishop in Smyrna, a disciple of John the Apostle, in c. 155. It is written especially to the church at Philoemeium (on road to Cappadocia).
It began "Brothers, we are sending you an account of the martyrs, and in particular of the blessed Polycarp." His martyrdom is portrayed to imitate the arrest and death of His Saviour. When the persecution broke out in Smryna he had gone off to the country, but is betrayed by one of his household. After being given time for prayer, He is brought into the city riding on an ass. He was subjected to a trial and abuse before being brought to the arena for death. As he had no fear of being thrown to the beasts, he was sentenced to be burned at the stake.
What impressed his fellow Christians was his courage and joy. At his trial he had exclaimed, For "eighty and six years have I served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?' Before the fire his whole countenance beamed with grace as "he cast his eyes up to heaven and" prayed.
As the amen soared up and the prayer ended, the men at the fire set their lights to it, and a great sheet of flame blazed out. And then we who were privileged to witness it saw a wondrous sight; as we have been spared to tell it to the rest of you. The fire took on the shape of a hollow chamber, like a ship's sail when the wind fills it, and formed a wall round about the martyr's figure; and there was he in the centre of it, not like a human being in flames but like a loaf baking in the oven, or like a gold or silver ingot being refined in the furnace. And we became aware of a delicious fragrance, like the odour of incense or other precious gums.
Yet the flames could not consume Polycarp's body, and so this "bishop of the Catholic Church" was ordered to be stabbed to death.
Such then is the record of Polycarp the Blessed. Including those from Philadelphia, he was the twelfth to meet a martyr's death in Smyrna; though he is the only one to be singled out for universal remembrance and to be talked of everywhere, even in heathen circles. Not only was he a famous Doctor, he was a martyr without a peer; and one whose martyrdom all aspire to imitate, so fully does it accord with the Gospel of Christ. His steadfastness proved more than a match for the Governor's injustice, and won him his immortal crown. Now, in the fullness of joy among the Apostles and all the hosts of heaven, he gives glory to the Almighty God and Father, and utters the praises of our Lord Jesus Christ - who is the Saviour of our souls, the Master of our bodies, and the Shepherd of the Catholic Church the wide world over.
Other accounts of early martyrdom reveal the amazing courage and example of young women. Not long after Polycarp's martyrdom in c.155, many Christians were martyred in Vienne, near Lyons in Gaul c. 177 in the time of Marcus Aurelius (161-180). The heroine is a female slave Blandina who suffered an excruciating death. What these Christians wrote was burned into them by what they saw. So fellow Christians in Asia and Phrygia were told minute details. Part of that letter explained how "Blandina was bound and suspended on a stake, and thus exposed as food to the assaults of wild beasts, and as she thus appeared to hang after the manner of the cross, by her earnest prayers she infused much alacrity into the contending martyrs. For as they saw her in the contest, with the external eyes, through their sister, they contemplated Him that was crucified for them, to persuade those that believe in him, that everyone who suffers for Christ will forever enjoy communion with the living God."
"Pray love remember." These martyrdoms were remembered constantly by the early Church as they prayed for their departed brothers and sisters.
For us who are not nearly as faithful and as ready to die for our faith as the early Christians were, also remember the Dead on All Souls Day. This commemoration is not as old as All Saints, mainly because in the early Church Saints and the Dead were almost synonymous. The first account of All Souls being a separate day was in 998 when all the Cluniac Houses in Europe commemorated their dead. By the 13thC commemorating the departed on this day had become widespread in the Western Church.
So on this day we too remember, and remember the dead. But often "the arithmetic of death perplexes our brains. What can we do but throw ourselves upon the infinity of God?" By praying for our dead we remember that "prayer is a sharing in the love of the heart of God, and the love of God is earnestly set towards the salvation of his spiritual creatures, by, through and out of the fire that purifies them". (Austin Farrer)
It also enables us to reflect on Death. The priest poet, John Donne, often reflected on death, illustrated in this sonnet:
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me;
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictured be,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke, why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more: Death thou shalt die.
And so for all our beloved dead Pray love remember +May they rest in peace, and may light perpetual shine upon them.
And of this day itself, the 5th of November? Does it have any special remembrance? Yes it does in 1605 the discovery of gunpowder planted under Parliament House in London, was made, just hours before Parliament was to reconvene and to be opened by the King James 1. If this plot had not be detected, instead of opening we would be remembering some great disaster: death of a king and bishops and gentry. And the English mind would have poisoned towards Roman Catholicism even more than it was at that time. What else would we be remembering? It is difficult to say, suffice to suggest that perhaps even European American history could have been different.
However when the fireworks fill the skies over England to-day I am sure that for the majority it will be to have a good time as not many will remember what is being celebrated, a deliverance, which in 1605 was seen as an act of God's mercy for the English against this Catholic laymen's plot to murder the British monarch and his parliamentarians. And so we have come full circle as "pray love remember" is not heeded.
And when Americans celebrate their special day on the last Thursday of November, will the majority be like the English, enjoy the fun but fail to remember why? In many ways Thanksgiving for the ,Americans is a bit like Pascha for the Jews. The latter remember well why they are sitting down to their Seder, being freed from a bondage, of being given a new home in a land of milk and honey. Will the youngest member at the family gathering at Thanksgiving ask, "Why is this day different from the rest?"
As our first citizenship is in heaven not in America, England or Australia or indeed any other country let me finish this talk of remembrance, remembering, remember in good Jewish- Christian tradition:
Remember, Christian soul, that you have this day, and every day of your life:
God to glorify.
Jesus to imitate.
A soul to save.
A body to mortify.
Sin to repent of.
Virtues to acquire.
Hell to avoid.
Heaven to gain.
Eternity to prepare for.
Time to profit by.
Neighbours to edify.
Worldly standards to despise.
Devils to combat.
Passions to subdue.
Death to prepare for.
Judgment to undergo.
Pray love, remember that "the whole world is charged with the grandeur of God/It will ooze out like oil, crushed.”