I am writing this on the day when there is to be a RAF fly-past of old Spitfires and Hurricanes over Buckingham Palace to remember the 75th anniversary of the commencement of the Battle of Britain.
It is right that we commemorate this important date in our nation’s history – not to glorify war but to remember the valour of those “Few” who without doubt saved not only Britain but arguably all of Western civilization from the horrors that the triumph of the Nazi regime would have wrought on a defenceless world. We who live in peace and freedom today have these brave pilots to thank and it is right that we never forget the debt we owe to their courage and sacrifice. No wonder Winston Churchill observed that, “so much was owed by so many to so few.”
I think there is a lesson for us in the church today from the courage of the RAF fighter pilots of 1940, and the lesson is – just because we are few doesn’t mean that we won’t overcome the opposition.
We are called to be disciples for Christ in this world today and to live lives that champion justice, peace, love, forgiveness, reconciliation, kindness, compassion and grace. All that Jesus stood for in fact.
When the crucified and risen Jesus gave “the great commission” to his disciples in Matthew 28:19, “to go and make disciples of all nations” – in other words, “build my church,” those to whom he entrusted this superhuman task were also few in number. Eleven to be precise, soon to be twelve again when, Mathias was added to their number (Acts 1.26). They faced opposition, persecution, execution and every kind of hardship yet despite all the odds they carried the gospel of Jesus to, “the ends of the Earth.” And they achieved this only because they put their trust in the promise Jesus gave them when he commissioned them. Jesus promised them (as he still promises us today), “I am with you always even to the end of time. (Matthew 28:20)
So let us not be overwhelmed that we are seemingly “few” in number – let us, the church of Jesus Christ here in our community reach out in love to show to others Christ’s love. Remember his promise – “I am with you always.”