Be Still Know
John 15:13 NLT
‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’
My father fought his way through the whole of the Second World War. Involved in three invasions, in North Africa, Italy and France on D-Day, he served from 1939-46. Once home he had to resume life as best he could, and like so many of his generation never spoke about his experiences. How he processed what he saw at El Alamein, Monte Cassino or fighting his way from the Normandy beaches to Berlin, I have no idea. He died, apparently long forgotten by a country who had required much of him and whose life was forever marked by his experiences.
In the UK, while most people are disillusioned by politicians’ declarations of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, they retain a high view of servicewomen and men, who have no option but to implement government decisions. However, with large numbers returning home disabled through action or damaged by PTSD, we offer little clear acknowledgement of their sacrifice, and can all too easily treat them as victims, diminishing both their choices and their humanity. Challenges in reintegrating into civilian life are immense, regardless of the external and internal scars they return with, and they do this bravely and we must support them.
Jesus acknowledged the faith of a centurion, a man who would have had command of as many as 200 soldiers and would have led from the front. Battle-hardened and experienced in war, he approached Jesus, who warmly received him and commended his faith, for he understood authority (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10). While outside Judaism, Jesus welcomed him as an example to us all.
QUESTION: How do you view Britain’s military veterans?
NOVENA PRAYER: Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I pray for all those currently serving in the armed services and ask that you would draw alongside each one, offering comfort. For those who return home, whatever their scars, that you might be a source of encouragement in enabling them to return effectively to family, friends and work. I pray a blessing also for all military chaplains. Guide us in supporting veterans with the appropriate respect.