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They started the day before...

It was Monday May the seventh when the news went out.

Hitler had been dead a week and the Russian troops had finished fighting in Berlin.

The news went out that peace papers had been signed and the war in Europe had ended.

It had been over 5 years of war and the people had almost forgotten what normal life was like.

It was still going to take another 5 months to stop the fighting elsewhere in the world but in Europe it was finished.

And so they started early. The whispers of peace had been spreading for hours, the notice on the radio confirming what people already knew in their hearts. And a further announcement of celebration was to be made the following day: Tuesday 8th May 1945.

75 years ago today people were talking about the end of the dark times, the pain, the suspicion and the isolation.

People were planning what they would do to celebrate the end of it.

Parties were hastily put together, by the afternoon people were hanging up bunting and readying food and fancy clothes to ring in the changes.

The weather was dull but the spirits were ablaze with a mixture of relief, gladness, sadness and fear for what happens next.

It can be hard to celebrate or commemorate something that you haven’t lived through.

It’s easier to ignore something that hasn’t touched you like it touched those who wave the banners and raise a glass.

But as a world that wants never to return to years of battle.

As a world that wishes more for peace that it does for division it may be our responsibility to remember what we do and why we do it.

To remember the failings of the nations that led the world into dark places and to strive never to repeat them.

To teach young people the power of peace and the poison of propaganda.

The educate the masses on the wildness of words and their use as weapons of war. The decay of peace as truth and trust is eroded.

The enslavement of everyone when lives are merely counted as numbers in the protection of the powerful.

And they need to be taught – not just by those who lost loved ones – but by those who were spared the pain too.

Otherwise we blindly walk into monumental messes by those who disregard history and the wisdom of those with expertise.

And we blindly walk away from a faith that places love as God’s greatest gift and life as His most precious present.

So we pray, this day, that Faith will overcome fear. That Peace will overcome possessions or power. That Hope will overcome the horrors and the heartache. And that Love – the greatest of all things – will overflow in all we do this week and forever more. Amen.

Don’t forget to pray today.