This time of year is all full of reminders - in the Church we have remembered All Souls, All Saints, we use the time change as a tool to remind us to check batteries in our smoke alarms and of course now, the big one, Remembrance Day. This year the phrase "those who fail to remember their past are condemned to repeat it" seems particularly apt. I don't believe I've ever noticed the word "condemned" in that phrase before now.
What's got my attention is the act of remembering the thousands who have died to ensure the freedoms of the wider world - in Canada today everything stops while we remember the sacrifices of so many in quiet gratitude. And yet ... everywhere you look the exercising of that same freedom is being criticized. Trump and those who voted for him are being held up as an example of all that is wrong with the world. I'm not clever enough to really understand the wider implications of his election I don't think, but the point is - he was elected. The people chose him. A truly democratic election cannot have the "wrong" result can it - that's an oxymoron. And now we have the protests - just as we did in the UK with the decision to leave the EU. But a city divided against itself cannot stand. Some cohesion must come, which direction it will take remains to be seen. I'm reminded here of the Bertie Wooster book where Jeeves cunningly makes just about everyone in the house party extremely angry with the hapless Bertie. When asked why Jeeves responds "sir, you wished the party to be brought together in a spirit of good will and camaraderie - the simplest way to achieve that was to provide them with a common enemy".
God has blessed us with the same freedom - to go off and do stupid things, to think we don't need him or his grace, to decide we can be Captain of our own ship right up to the moment when it sinks beneath the waves and we are lost in the vast expanse of a seething sea. We all do it. We all rebel and we all leave his side with great glee and delight at our own individuality and self-efficacy. Thankfully we are given the freedom to set sail and explore in the knowledge that the safe haven of his harbour is behind us, ready to rejoice in our return.