May 11th

This weekend has brought back many memories of VE Day 75 years ago, for those of us old enough to remember. Many gave thanks to God. For what? For the end of the war, the fighting, the killing, the destruction, the constant danger. All that and in some cases for Victory. It was after all VE Day – Victory in Europe – so that was what it was all about, Victory was what we were meant to be celebrating.

This was logical if you had believed that God was on your side – but not a few Germans believed that, too – at least in the early days of the war, and especially before the horrors of the concentration camps began to be known. Many Germans struggled to reconcile their patriotism and their faith. So, for what had we been praying during those war years? For the safety of our loved ones and ourselves, for peace and, surely, for the defeat of what was now clearly seen as an evil regime, and that would only be achieved through victory.

Many found it possible to find biblical precedents – in the book of Numbers (one of the Lectionary readings for today) we read of Moses: “Arise, Lord, may your enemies be scattered” – yes, “your” enemies – God’s enemies are the same as our enemies.

So were we – are we – right to pray for victory and to thank God when it is achieved? What do you think?

David Roberts