The NOVEMBER edition of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Magazine is available. The Table of Contents appears below.
If nothing else, 2020 has been a good year for memories! We have certainly made some new ones, and it will be interesting to see how the various country across the world will be remembered by future generations for their response to Covid-19 throughout the year. We might, in future years, remember having to go back to the car to pick up a mask before entering a shop. We might talk of the great ‘toilet-paper shortage’ or the ‘Rise of Deliveroo’. We might have new reasons to laugh at ourselves as a species; or the memories might be sharper: painful and sorrow filled. As we come through November, many families are facing their first Christmas without a familiar face within the home. Perhaps Remembrance Day this year will be more poignant than most as we, like those on the first Armistice Day, struggle to comprehend the number of casualties and deaths, and are unaware of the lasting effects on global politics, economics and mental health. As we stand to remember the fallen, will our minds turn also to the medical staff in the beleaguered hospitals and care homes? The frontline workers trying to keep the supply chains running and prevent food poverty compounding the problems of isolation and vulnerability? The grieving, the anxious, the despairing and hopeless; those who blame the government and those who blame God. All those, in fact, that Jesus shared with throughout His life and ministry. Is our society now so very different to the one into which Christ was born? Are the people we interact with (masked and socially distanced, of course) totally removed from those who called for His crucifixion, or wept at His tomb? I would be inclined to think not. I remember His words of compassion to all: words of comfort, forgiveness and challenge. I remember the lives He changed and the visions He inspired; the social norms He dispelled and the outcasts He touched. I wonder how we can best honour that memory; and recognise that all we can try to do is continue walking within that legacy, reaching out to those who are broken and offering compassion to those exhausted by the trials of this year.
I loved viewing and receiving photographs of harvest food bank donations alongside the colourful displays of fruit and flowers this year; a reminder that we do look beyond the trappings of ‘church’ to the substance of the social gospel: making a positive difference in the lives of those it is within our power to help, in the Name of Jesus. We remember those in need, not with pity but with practicality; not to degrade, but to dignify. In doing this, we show love and fulfil the Lord requirement from Micah 6:8: ‘to do justice, and love merciful-kindness and to walk humbly with your God’.
Yours in Christ.