D-Day celebrations are being held for the 75th anniversary, 6th June 2019. Remembering the largest military naval, air and land operation ever attempted, and the mind-boggling numbers of casualties, is the very least we can do. The Queen today paid tribute to the heroism, courage and sacrifice of those who died, and quite rightly so. In the war years there was a sense of unity that bound people and communities together, as the UK faced a common foe. Just about everyone in the country, regardless of status, pulled together to do what they could, suffering hardship, deprivation and grief in the process. And we always need to remember, and insist that future generations also remember, the sacrifices paid by my parents’ generation, for the freedom of the society in which we live.
The post-Pentecost Early Church was birthed in a wonderful spirit of unity. Acts 2:44 “And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.” Acts 4:32, “All the believers were united in heart and mind.” So what can a pilgrim tramping through the highways and by-ways of life make of the dysfunctional and disunited Church today? He looks on at the many denominations, different factions and beliefs, the rise of liberalistic theologies, the introduction of sinful practices into church liturgies and government, even the abandonment of many of the principles laid down in the First Century by men and women who were united in their determination to spread the Good News of Jesus in their communities, fulfilling the Great Commission. It would be easy to give a shrug and conveniently turn the head and consider something else. But Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “…I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it“. It is worth considering what Jesus didn’t say as well as what He did say. It isn’t a conditional statement with mankind as a dependency. It’s a straight forward statement of fact – Jesus will build His Church. So every Christian pilgrim needs to illuminate his meanderings through life with the teachings of Jesus, using the foundations laid down by the Apostles and the Early Church as stepping stones, doing our part to protect the unity of our faith, regardless of what others are doing. And we always need to remember, and insist that future generations also remember, the sacrifices paid by the heroes of our faith two thousand years ago.