It is almost impossible at this time to dwell upon any subject that has no bearing, direct or indirect, upon the war, for the very obvious reason that there is no section of the community that is not profoundly affected by the grim march of events.
There are to be found in any locality large numbers of people who maintain an attitude of absolute calm in the face of the most trying events, and I hope that any such who may read this letter will use it only to re-enforce their admirable conduct; there are others, however, who fly to extremes of cheerfulness and despondency as the fortunes of war wax and wane, and it is to them that these words are addressed. At the very outset I will admit that from a purely worldly point of view there is nothing wrong in reacting to the circumstances of the moment, but from a Christian viewpoint it is a very wrong thing to do. When our Lord gave His commission to the apostles he did not offer them a life of ease, on the contrary, He held out to them the certainty of hatred persecution and martyrdom, things quite impossible to face if the circumstances of the moment were conceded a supreme value. With the promise of martyrdom and persecution. He gave them a view of eternity which enabled them to ignore the things of the moment and forge ahead towards the high goal of their calling. If the Fathers of the Christian Church lived in these days, they would not be disturbed by the events of the moment, but would continue to work for the great cause to which they had dedicated themselves. We can emulate them in this; their cause is our cause, their goal is ours; more than that, the one who sustained them will sustain us if we but trust in Him. The whole matter seems quite clear; if we trust in God there is no cause for alarm. It would be well to re-member God’s words to Joshua “Be strong and of a good courage, for I will be with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
The maintenance of public morale is of greater importance at this time than ever before, since we are all in the front line, and can exercise a considerable influence upon the bearing of others, combatants and civilians alike. We are told that it is our duty to the State to do this, but it is surely of greater importance to do so when we know that quiet confidence is part of the Christian life to which we are dedicated.
Now that the major part of the armed Forces of the Crown is stationed in Britain it would seem that those on active service are not as much in our thoughts as they should. Where they are is not really very important, what we should remember is that they are venturing their lives on our behalf, and need our prayers and thanksgiving as much as ever.
I would suggest that every person in the Parish should if possible at noon each day where ever they may be, whatever they may be doing, stop for a brief period and offer up a prayer on behalf of all those on active service. I feel quite sure that such prayers will help them, and also ourselves to do our various duties as good Christians and loyal subjects of the Crown.
Church Missionary Society.
In order to increase the interest in the Missionary activities of the Church, it has been arranged that the Rev. E. E. C. Jones, C.M.S., Organizing Secretary for Birmingham, Leicester and Derby, should pay us a visit on Sunday, November 3rd. Mr. Jones will give the address at Mattins and Evensong and will talk to the children at 2.15.
Please book the date Sunday November 3rd.
Deanery Missionary Festival.
The Festival will be held at Kirk Hallam, on Saturday, September 7th.
Speaker: The Venerable H. Dallimore, Archdeacon of Ado, Lagos.
Since the last issue of this Magazine, world events have moved at a very swift pace and we are now seeing the end of the era in which the aggressive plans of Germany have coloured the life of the whole world. As the allied armies advance deeper and deeper into what was to be the impregnable fortress of the Nazis’ prison camps and concentration camps are being over-run in ever increasing numbers, with the result that many who have been in enemy hands for years are once more free, and in some cases, already restored to the families from which they have been parted for so long a time. With all these fortunate ones, here and elsewhere, we rejoice, and we express the hope that time and the loving care of their relatives will serve to make up for all they have endured.
As to the concentration camps, what can we say except that here is clear evidence of a beastly cruelty that will for ever be remembered against the whole German race.
I remember that during the last war atrocities were alleged against the Germans, but in our moment of victory, they were very largely forgotten and little if anything was done to punish those who had committed them.
This time we hope no such futile mistake will be made, and there are signs that punishment will be meted out without flinching.
I myself have seen pictures that will re-main in my memory all my life, and I feel that these pictures should be displayed all over the world wherever there are any signs of sympathy for the “poor misguided Germans” as they will presently attempt to make us think of them. We must remember the victims of this awful cruelty, and not allow those responsible to go unpunished.
In the meantime we are seeing the dissolution of the German State proceeding before our very eyes, and it is now reasonable to forecast that Germany will not be able to rise again in our lifetime without any measures being taken to prevent a recurrence of her former mania; we may be sure that such measures will be taken as and when required so that never again shall the German fury be let loose in the world.
There is much talk just now of the celebration of Victory and some people think that the day for such a celebration is near at hand, but if we stop to think we can see that it is not, for we still have the enemy in the East, and the war will not be over until he also is crushed. How can we celebrate Victory when many men from this country are still venturing their lives in the far East?
But the day will come when all the foes are vanquished, all the men have returned, and then we can celebrate Victory.
After that the Real war will begin. The war against injustice and exploitation; the war against our own baser nature.
The things that need righting are almost without number, but if we can stand together to defeat an external foe, there is no reason why we cannot do so to overthrow the enemy of selfishness in our midst. It will be a more severe struggle, for we shall not always recognise the foe at first sight, so we must learn to recognise him and be prepared to tackle him wherever he is found.
I personally believe that we are on the verge of a golden age, but I feel sure that it will not come without struggle and sacrifice.