Friday 8th May is VE Day, the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. It’s important we remember and commemorate historical events like this and tonight we looked at some of the reasons why, including what life was like in those days. We might grumble about 41 days in lockdown, but the Second World War lasted from 1st September 1939 until 8th May 1945. We might chafe at queuing to buy food, but food was rationed then (the picture is a week’s rations for 1 adult.)
In the Bible, there are many times when God’s people were urged to remember who He was and what He had done. Tonight, we looked at Joshua 3 and 4, when God enabled His people to cross the River Jordan on dry land and were urged to take memorial stones from the river to commemorate this miraculous intervention. Stones were often used to build altars (see Gen 26:23-25, Gen 35:14, 1 Sam 7:12); they were a visible reminder to future generations of what God had done.
Ps 78:4 says, ‘we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.’ Our job is not only to remember and commemorate what God has done, but to pass these facts on to others. We as a church are celebrating 10 years in the building at Market Street, remembering God’s miraculous provision (how a church with just over £7,500 in the bank took possession of a building costing £170,000 and how God’s provision continues to this day – if you want to know more about this, read ‘How We Got Here’ on the church website under ‘Blog.‘) When we’re allowed to gather again, we hope to have a celebration day to commemorate this! But each of us have stories to tell – individual stories, family stories, church stories – which we need to commemorate and pass on.
What will our memorial stones look like? They might be actual stones (gathered from our gardens or walks and painted perhaps); they might be craft activities done in lockdown or journals kept to remind us of these times. When we look back on these in years to come, people can say, ‘I did this at a time when we were forced to stay at home, when we couldn’t go to the church building as usual’… but how much better if we can also combine this with something that says ‘… and even then God helped us; God provided for us; God cared for us.’ Because God surely does help us, provide for us, care for us and lead us forward, now as He did in 1945, as He did in Joshua’s time. God is there, always working for good, and we need to remember and commemorate this… and tell others!