November is a time of the year when we are encouraged to remember. In the Churches calendar the 1st November is a dedicated feast day, more commonly known as All Saints. On this day, we are encouraged to thank God for all the Godly people who have had an impact on our own personal lives, as well as thanking Him for those men and woman who down through the years have shared their faith with the next generation and are now in glory. Also on 11th November at 11am we may wish to join with thousands of people across this nation, and the whole world, in pausing to remember the brave people who have given their lives in the service of others in two world wars and other conflicts.
It is only right to remember and reflect upon the past, but we must be careful not to let the past hinder us from moving forward. We learn from those who have gone before us in order to help make society a better place.
As we think of the past, we must also focus on the present and lay foundations for the future. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encourages us to be people who are different - different not in an odd way, but in a good way. 14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden …let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). We need to set the example of how to live God honouring lives, and show society the difference being a Christian can make in our lives and in how we respond to others. This month the parish will have received a brief outline of some of the things the Opportunity 2016 Mission Team have been planning for next year. This is our opportunity, as a parish, ‘to let our light shine’ amongst the community of Strabane.
However, this is only possible, if we ourselves, are being transformed by the Good News of what Jesus did for us. Back to remembering – 2000 years ago Jesus died on a cross so that our sinful ways can be forgiven. When we ask for His forgiveness, we are transformed into a new creation (2nd Corinthians 5:17), born again (John 3:3), and made new. This means that we have a future to plan for and are sure that when this life is over, we will live for ever, in Heaven.