Armed Forces Day

"Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 2. 3

Recently and for good reasons our focus has been on our health and emergency services. Not so many years ago the so-called "war on terror" dominated the headlines. And as the generations that fought in the two World Wars have died off, Remembrance has acquired an extra poignancy.

We expect much of our Armed Forces. For relatively low pay they do our dirty work, at home and abroad. Even during the current Corona-crisis consider how frequently our service men and women have appeared manning the testing stations which have been popping up in car parks across the land.

Dilemmas involving the use of fire-arms, in which police forces have been embroiled on both sides of the Atlantic, must be faced by every soldier, sailor and airman/ woman whenever they go on active duty. Training for war involves intimate knowledge of the Geneva Convention governing the legitimate use of force, which must be applied in the most complex and dangerous circumstances, from the heat of battle to patrolling the streets. Often one's enemy is in disguise or of an age or sex one would not expect.

John the Baptist instructed the soldiers of his day to be content with their pay and exemplary in their conduct. Jesus commended a Roman officer for his faith. Paul used military illustrations to illuminate his teaching. How shall we acknowledge our service men and woman today?