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07432 530983

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Llanafan Road, Newbridge, Powys, LD1 6LY

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Pentref Baptist Church

Thought of the Day

May 9, 2020

Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of VE day. Today my daily reading took me to that famous passage in Isaiah: “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

Yesterday I heard a RAF veteran talking about his time flying in Lancaster Bombers. One of the things that he said was that 50% of those flying in the Lancasters never returned. I have not been able to verify this statistic, but I have no reason to doubt it. My father served in the RAF during the war as part of the crew on a Lancaster. He was in the right 50% – the 50% who returned. As the reports of the celebrations were broadcast on the radio yesterday, I thought of him and wondered what he would have made of it.

I doubt whether he would have joined the celebrations – I can never remember him doing so when he was alive. I never saw his service medals. I don’t know whether he even collected them, but I do know that he never kept them. He did not like the big military parades on Remembrance Day, seeing them as preparation for war rather than living and preparing for peace.

In all of this I am not saying that he did not remember – he did. His remembrance, however, was not confined to particular days of commemoration and celebration, but a life of political activism. He saw the war as a fight against tyranny and injustice, and that the way to avoid another war was for people to campaign for freedom and justice during the peace.

Although he was not a believer, he worked in an attempt to make the words of Isaiah be more than just hope for the future, but a present reality.

Like father like son I find commemorations like yesterday’s difficult, but I do work and pray for that day when “swords shall be beat into ploughshares and nations will not train for war anymore.”

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