Share

It's 75 years since Churchill told MPs to thank God for victory

On VE Day, Major General Roddy Porter MBE shares a reflection on victory, rebuilding and what it means for today's world, especially in the light of coronavirus

8 May 1945 was the day which finally saw the defeat of the tyrannical Nazi regime that had consumed and enslaved millions - civilian and military - and devastated vast swathes of Europe.

As Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister told our nation at the time, there was room for a brief period of rejoicing, noting that the war against Japan was far from won and the hard work of rebuilding our nation and our lives still yet to begin.

But on that day, those who stood to hail victory rejoiced at being alive, breathing again the fresh air of freedom and congregating without the fear of death.

We had hoped that we would mark this 75th anniversary with three days of public events. Parades, bands and bunting, street parties, and many opportunities to thank the heroes of the Second World War, and reflect on the sacrifices of a generation now swiftly passing. But that is clearly not to be, and we must mark this occasion with more sober hearts.

Today, we contemplate the sacrifice being made to fight a new enemy, which knows no frontline, threatens every neighborhood and which must be combatted by medical and care staff, not sailors or soldiers.

The final volume of Winston Churchill's History of the Second World War is entitled Triumph and Tragedy. Military triumph was achieved with tragic loss, which scarred the face of the globe for decades. We now battle in the face of the tragedy of loss to Coronavirus.

We don't doubt that we will win, or that we we will emerge again from lockdown into the fresh clean air of freedom. But we know that a huge rebuilding task awaits us. It's very different to 1945. It's a task of resurrecting a society flattened by an unseen enemy.

Let's take heart from those who rejoiced on VE day and then bent their backs with a will to make something of their world again. There remain among us those who showed the way then and who are doing so again. Men like Captain Tom Moore, whose noble character remains unbounded both by the years and the present challenge.

On this day in 1945, Churchill finished his victory report to the House of Commons by moving that MPs should at once go to St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, to give thanks to Almighty God for the nation's deliverance from tyranny. And right now, the Lord God remains our only hope of national resurrection and our hope for the future.

Christians have the challenge to emerge from lockdown to present Jesus afresh to the world, to our family, friends and neighbors. To turn fear to joy, despair to resurrection living, death to victory, tragedy to triumph in Christ.

Let's not forget, and let our remembrance drive us forward with passion. VE day presented a rebuilding challenge to our forebears. And as we commemorate, God's people also have a rebuilding opportunity through a Holy Spirit breathed recommitment to the Great Commission, to present a hurting desperate world with the good news of Jesus Christ, who alone can triumph over death and sin and who will reign for eternity. And that surely is victory.

Major General Roddy Porter MBE is the chief executive of Military Ministries International, a charity given to helping military Christians follow Jesus Christ in armed forces around the world. He served in the British Army for 31 years in peace and war in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq, retiring in 2011

About this blog

Opinions on the latest trends, topics, news and culture from a Christian perspective.

Weekly Newsletter
You may also like...

Church vandalism and theft has risen to the highest levels on... More

UK

As Mental Health Awareness Week begins, and following the news... More

A Church of Scotland minister has revealed that he used to sleep... More

UK

Beware the false optimism which comes from our pulpits, says... More