The 1st of November is All Saints Day; the 3rd All Souls Day. As we enter this period, culminating for many on the 11th November with Remembrance Day, and the 13th Remembrance Sunday, this hymn might be helpful for we who mourn, who remember those who have died.
Some churches will recognise All Souls this coming Sunday. This hymn was originally requested for remembrance of people who had died of kidney disease and later included in a book: Hymns of Hope and Healing.
The lives we mourn have known their share of heartache, of human fear, uncertainty and shock, and yet we also shared in love and laughter, our memories hold solid as a rock; for on through time remembrance will be treasured, we'll keep it close when joy is tinged with pain, we'll never lose the smiles that sign togetherness, and day to day we know that love will still remain.
We never know what waits in life's uncertainty, we never know what love, what joy, what fear, can build us up, or leave us lost and comfortless, afraid to face, again, the coming year, yet here are people who can hold their hands with us, can walk with us into the great unknown, and so together we can walk the path of life, and know that when we stumble love will still be shown.
So take my hand, my friend, my neighbour, walk with me, together we can face the passing storm, and know with God, in spite of tears and emptiness, there is a sense that new love can be born. In this we trust, for through our grief God held to us, and human arms have caught us when we fell, beyond this day each dawn will bring new hope for us that through God's love and grace and care all will be well.
In these days as we remember
torture, holocaust and fear,
hear our prayer, our supplication,
wrung from hearts, soaked by each tear.
Tears have flooded through our nations,
pain has racked and broken lives,
now we vow to show through action
our compassion still survives.
If the voice of God is silent,
if disciples cease to speak,
then the voiceless and rejected
know the way ahead is bleak.
Let our faith be known in action,
in our depth of love and care,
in our choice identifying
with our neighbours in despair.
When the strength of our resistance
to the evil that we see
shows itself in selfless giving
of our lives then we are free,
free of cant and self-deception,
of hypocrisy and pride,
for we greet as sisters, brothers,
those that others would deride.
So easy now to judge:
that one was right,
But we were never there
in the narrow trench
or corridor of power.
We never heard the thunder’s fire,
nor found ourselves
strung up upon the wire.
We never had to make that bleak decision
consigning one to death,
another to derision.
Our innocence is born of inexperience,
our wisdom consummated in our ignorance.
And if the clocks turned back,
were we to tread where men,
would we be just as speedy to deride,
or criticise the ones we said once lied?
give generosity of thought
to read the pages history have wrought;
to look with eyes of grace into that time,
to fathom truth and reason
in that jagged, harrowed rhyme.