November is a month of memories: All Souls, All Saints, Armistice Day, Remembrance Day – four opportunities to remember those who have gone before us, and to celebrate the legacy of memories they left behind. Which raises the question: How would you like to be remembered?
In 2018, before she became world-famous, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg gave a talk in which she reflected on her future: “In the year 2078 I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children or grandchildren, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you, the people who were around back in 2018. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there was still time to act. What we do or don’t do right now will affect my entire life and the lives of my children and grandchildren. What we do or don’t do right now, me and my generation can’t undo in the future.”
This always makes me think. How will I be remembered? I believe that every generation has its strengths and weaknesses. Some of the heroic soldiers we remember on Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday had, by our modern-day standards, racist and misogynist opinions. But does that mean that we should tear down their memorial and ‘cancel’ them? Heaven forbid! Of course not! History needs to be remembered – both its highs and lows – in order that we may celebrate the good, learn from the bad, and live the best lives we can today.
Those who are quick to ‘throw the first stone’ would do well to remember that we ourselves will leave behind mixed legacies: some things good, some things not so good.
Thank God for places of heritage, especially those that are not only museums or monuments of the past but continue to work for a better future. The church is such a place. But maintaining it comes at a cost. Please see our notice about the Church Restoration Project. Can you help us future-proof the church building? Might this be something you want to be remembered for?
Love and prayers