A blog written by the Rev Dr Roger Sturrock
I don’t know about you, but I was deeply moved when viewing the 75th anniversary T.V. documentaries of V.E. day May 8th 1945. Both my parents served in the 2nd world war in their different ways – my father was in the RAF (ground crew) and my mother worked in the bank and was a fire watcher. Neither of them spoke much about their experiences of the war but I do remember, as a child born just after the war, that they would often sing or hum the songs popular during the 2nd world war especially Vera Lynn’s iconic “We’ll meet again…” I am sure that we have all been amazed by the wonderful efforts of the 2nd world war veteran, Captain (now Hon. Colonel) Tom Moore who served in Burma and who has raised millions of pounds for NHS charities at this time of another national crisis as we combat Covid -19.
However, it is easy to forget that war often leads to disastrous consequences for those involved whichever side one is on. It brutalises and brings out both the best and the worst in humankind. The human race seems to be particularly prone to settling disputes by armed conflict as any serious student of history will testify. As a young student in London, I remember being deeply affected by listening to Benjamin Britten’s war requiem and in particular the singing of “Anthem for doomed youth” a poem by the first world war poet Wilfred Owen on the futility of war. Here is an extract:
“What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
— Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.”
As Christians we must be thankful for those who gave their lives to save us from tyranny and also we must continue to be thankful for those who have sacrificed their lives in the battle against the ravages of Covid-19 in our own day. But as far as armed conflict is concerned, the Christian message is that there is a better way patterned on the self – giving sacrificial life of Jesus Christ, who in the last week of his life and facing increasing opposition with the threat of death, said to his disciples “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (KJV). The key phrase for me is “be of good cheer”. It is sometimes difficult to be of good cheer in the midst of ‘lock down’ and with the uncertainties of life after the Pandemic is over. However being of good cheer (or having courage) is a state of being for the Christian despite external circumstances and it depends on our understanding of the “big picture’ in God’s economy – “I have overcome the world.”
If you would like to join in for tea and a chat which takes place every Thursday at 4.00 pm via ZOOM, please contact the Rev Dr Roger Sturrock who will provide you with details of the link.