Well yesterday was a real mixture of celebration and trepidation. As our nation sought to remember the 75th anniversary of VE Day there was the chance to appreciate the wonderful benefits of the peace that was brought to us by the sacrifices of the Second World War.
The anglican clergy across the city created a zoom prayer for the occasion that reminded us all of the part played by Portsmouth in this conflict. The terrible destruction of the bombing of our city and the number of people who played an active part in the conflict has shaped our identity. It took many years for the rebuilding to create any sense of normality in the post war years. The loss within the community stayed in the psyche of all those who had seen the suffering or had been part of the trauma.
So we are a city that should celebrate the part that we played. Just along from us one street had every single house draped in the Union jack and bunting. The beautiful weather encouraged people to go out. There was a very loud Karaoke machine playing well into the evening. It was hoped that everyone stayed far enough away to remain safe.
But just a couple of roads in the other direction from us there is a care home. Just the day before I had to contact the relative of one of the occupants of that home who had died of Covid 19 to arrange their funeral. This relative told me that he was the fourteenth of the thirty residents to die in the last two weeks. The virus has got its hold and is wreaking its own form of devastation. The lives are lost and the loved ones left with regrets and no opportunity for a last hug or hold of a hand. Now they have the prospect of just 10 people attending a pared down funeral at the crematorium. It is sadness beyond our normal comprehension that has been repeated so often all across our land.
We are in another battle and we cannot take for granted the outcome. Tomorrow the Prime Minister will make his announcement to the people about the future steps of our lockdown process. It looks to me as if we will be under restrictions for many more weeks to come.
The VE Day celebrations reminded us of our need to work together if we want to defeat a determined foe. It was also a feature of the war that the whole country was called to times of prayer. Just before Dunkirk the whole nation prayed and a window in the weather appeared to allow the troops to be brought safely home. We are now at a point in this crisis when prayer is looking like the crucial component. Our church, along with many others, is offering ample opportunities to connect in prayer. So let God's people turn to Him to seek his face and pray so that He might come and heal our land.