Remembrance Sunday 2020

My dear friends in Christ,

Welcome to the Bishop’s Blog!

Sitting by the fire on Saturday evening, with the dark and damp held well at bay by double-glazing and shut curtains, the noise of fireworks still got through. The unfortunate origins of bonfire night have shifted for most people into an innocent chance to enjoy themselves with spectacular displays at a time of year when light is losing out to the dark. I felt that this year people’s spirits – especially the children’s – would be lifted by the occasion. I hope so.Listening to the bangs and explosions did introduce some less welcome thoughts though. It occurred to me that in other parts of the world people would be hearing similar noises, but caused by gunshots and armaments. They would be threats not just to the evening quiet, but to life itself.And so my mind turned to the business of Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day. The invitation to remember is the same as always. How we do it this year will obviously be affected by our on-going restricted circumstances. Parts of our comforting rituals will not be possible. Perhaps inconvenient restrictions can serve to give us a different but thought-provoking new angle on the occasion.Loss of liberty, making sacrifices, being denied the right to choose how to live; is this a small taste of what it was for others to serve in times of severe conflict? These things weigh heavily on us in an age accustomed to flexibility and convenience. But parents know all about them, and so do dedicated staff. And so does the dedicated disciple.The legacy of war – even war against covid-19 – inspires us to dream of some ‘new normal’, and to work for it. Any new normal we expect to find in the world around us must surely be formed first within us. If we are to welcome it, it will bear characteristics identified with wisdom, fortitude, charity, sacrifice and service. Joy will be in there too, a joy not dependent solely on our immediate circumstances, but founded rather on the Lord’s eternal promises.In this month of prayer for the Holy Souls may you all find comfort and healing in the wounds left by grief.

With my blessing,


Paul Swarbrick

Bishop of Lancaster