Apostles’ Creed. The following day, All Souls, reminds us that we are “compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). This ancient observance re-entered the Anglican Calendar in the years following the Great War as a liturgical response to the massive burden of grief and mourning left behind by the war: “May they rest in peace, and may light perpetual shine upon them.” It is observed in many parishes today to commemorate those who have died in the previous 12 months. 11th November is the day of national remembrance for the casualties of the Great and other wars.
Remembrance forms part of mourning – ‘memory’, ‘remembrance’ and ‘mourn’ all share a common root, mer. It is also part of repentance, since repentance is not possible without remembrance. These verbal associations are all implied in one of the beatitudes from today’s Gospel: “Blessed are they that mourn” (Matt 5:4).