For our country, November has two times of remembering. This article is adapted from a Youth Club earlier this month talk which looked at the sort of things those around us remember, why remembrance is important, and what God want's us to remember.
Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
On 5th November, people remember that someone called Guy Fawkes, along with several other men, tried – and failed – to blow up King James 1st when he was visiting the Houses of Parliament in London.
The others involved in the plot included Robert Catesby who was the leader of the gang, Thomas Percy, Francis Tresham who warned his brother in a letter not to be in Parliament that day and so gave away the secret, John and Christopher Wright, Thomas and Robert Winter, Thomas Bates, Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby, Robert Keyes and John Grant.
Guy Fawkes was recruited as the gunpowder expert; he was caught red-handed in a storeroom under the House of Lords with the barrels of gunpowder on the 5 November 1605. All these men were Roman Catholics and the Catholics who felt rather persecuted at that time, were particularly cross with King James – which is why they wanted to kill him! Catholics had to meet for worship in secret since King Henry 8th had his little bust-up with the Pope over the matter of divorcing one of his wives.
How many wives? 6 – they made a record! Do you remember their names?
- Catherine of Aragon, m. 1509 – 1533, Divorced
- Anne Boleyn, m. 1533 – 1536, Beheaded
- Jane Seymour, m. 1536 – 1537, Died
- Anne of Cleves, m. 1540 Jan. – July, Divorced
- Kathryn Howard, m. 1540 – 1542, Beheaded
- Katherine Parr, m. 1543 – 1547, Survived
Henry started the Church of England. After Henry VIII there was Edward VI, then Mary and Philip, then Elizabeth I – who made being a Roman Catholic illegal, then came James I, who was also James VI of Scotland.
King James decreed, in Thanksgiving Act of 1606, that every November 5th, all the people could have a big celebration with bonfires and fireworks to give thanks for his not being blown up.
We remember King James I for another thing, do you know what?
The King James, or Authorised Version of the Bible we still read today. Before He became king, he gathered together a team of clever scholars to make a new translation of the Bible into English – for the Church of England to have as their official version. They finished it in 1611. Do you remember the celebrations of that a couple of years ago? Look at the first page of the King James Version of the Bible.
Do you remember when I started I said that there were two things people remember at this time of year? What is the other one?
At 11AM, on November 11th 1918, The Great War officially ended in ‘the Armistice’ when the winners and losers signed the Treaty of Versailles. We tend to call ‘The Great War’ the ‘First World War’ but at the time they didn’t know that there wound be another one as they had just finished ‘The War to End All Wars’. We know that it was just a vain wish as there can be no end to wars until Jesus returns to set up God’s Kingdom.
On Remembrance Day, people gather to remember those who gave their lives in wars fighting for our freedom, not just the Great War, but the Second World War and some other conflicts as well. At 11 o’clock people stand in silence for two minutes as a mark of respect.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Christadelphians do not fight in the wars of men, but we may yet be called to fight on the Lord’s side in the last battle before Jesus is crowned King of All the Earth.
Every Sunday, we have our ‘Memorial Service’ to remember that Jesus gave His life on the cross, for us and for many, as a covering for our sins. We break bread to remember his body and drink wine to remember his blood spilled. I’m sure that when the time is right for you, you will be baptised and will take part in our ‘act of remembrance’.
Really, we are just passing time on the earth, we are waiting for Jesus to come back to start mending all the brokenness of the world. To end wars, to end pain and sorrow, and hatefulness, and to guide us all in giving glory to God.
Sometimes things happen which take us by surprise. We might get a pleasant surprise, like a Cake Pop or a Toffee Apple. We sometimes get less pleasant surprises. Sometimes we just get surprising surprises, like the BANG of fireworks!
The Bible has a distinct lack of bonfires and fireworks, but does talk about things happening when we don’t expect them... “For you know that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2)
For those who aren’t expecting it, the return of Jesus to earth will be a real shock. We know from the Bible that it will happen and something that we ought to know about in advance. Although no one knows exactly when Jesus will return, through reading the Bible we can at least see the signs and be ready, hopefully leaving us somewhat less startled when it does happen. Avoid the biggest shock of your life, read the Bible today.
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5)