MU Devotion for 6 April and VE Day Commemoration
Last year the Government moved this year’s May Bank Holiday from Monday 4th to Friday 8th in order to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the end of the war in Europe. Little did anyone realise that when this date arrived, we would be fighting a totally different battle across Europe and indeed throughout the world. Fighting an invisible enemy by cooperating in the measures needed to protect nations, neighbours, and the NHS. VE Day marked the end of the conflict in Europe but the war continued until August in other parts of the world. Even at home, the end of hostility did not mean a return to normal life. Instead a period of great austerity followed as the country recovered physically and financially. Indeed, rationing did not end until the 4th of July 1954. A warning to us of how long we could potentially feel the aftereffects of this current crisis.
In this season of Easter, we are also between times. We celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, the time he appeared on Earth in human form. After forty days we celebrate Ascension Day, when Jesus returned to heaven. That is soon followed by Pentecost, when we give thanks for the coming of the Holy Spirit among us. Each commemoration marks the recovery and transformation of the disciples from the darkness of Good Friday to the joy of proclaiming God’s eternal kingdom to all nations. God’s purpose however did not stop on the Day of Pentecost, it is being worked out each and every day throughout our history.
Communities suffer through natural disasters, war, and other man-made calamities but the ongoing power of Jesus’ resurrection is seen in the way individuals react in the face of suffering. The love people show for friend and stranger alike. The prayers, compassion, phone calls, shopping, donations to Foodbanks, providing hot meals, raising money for the NHS and other charities, the knitting, sewing, clapping and high levels of care shown in the current crisis is where we find the presence of God, alive and active with love and compassion. Our recovery may be slow, but we know we will get there in the end because we have seen it before. Not only the recovery of what we had before but a new transformed world as seen in the aftermath of past disasters and in the life and Resurrection of Jesus our Saviour.
In the services which were planned across the country on Friday to mark VE Day, there is an opportunity to make an act of commitment. I have included it below, if you would like to join in making such a commitment on Friday:
An Act of Commitment:
Let us pledge ourselves anew to the service of God and our fellow men and women: that we may help, encourage and comfort others, and support those working for the relief of the needy and for the peace and welfare of the nations.
Lord God our Father,
we pledge ourselves to serve you and all humankind, in the cause of peace,
for the relief of want and suffering,
and for the praise of your name.
Guide us by your Spirit;
give us wisdom;
give us courage;
give us hope;
and keep us faithful now and always.
With love and prayers for a peaceful VE Day on Friday.