The Battle of Britain has been in the news recently in the UK as seventy-five years have passed since a small number of very brave, and mostly very young men defended this country, and thwarted Hitler’s plans for invasion. Our then Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Winston Churchill, when speaking about the valour and sacrifice of the aircrews said: “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”
Last night Marilyn and I watched the 1969 movie ‘The Battle of Britain.’ It had me on the edge of my seat for two hours as the horrors of that war sunk in. I remember my father telling me about how he watched WW2 dogfights as a nine-year old when he lived close to Croydon Airfield. Dad told me about the air raid shelter in their garden, and how the children carried gas masks to school. Then there was the period of evacuation to safer areas in the countryside, when children were separated from their families.
Today we don’t have to look to the skies to see war because it is all over our television screens. The reasons for war haven’t changed. War begins with the strong trying to impose their ways on the weak. At school we called it bullying. But we also witness the strong intimidating the weak in our workplaces, in our families and sadly in our churches.
Jesus grew up in a nation that had been invaded by a stronger nation. Rome imposed its rule and with that rule came taxation, intimidation, and cruelty. Sounds like a recipe for government anywhere in the world today, even in our own allegedly liberal ‘western’ nations. But Jesus wasn’t interested in armed insurrection to overthrow and drive out the Roman invaders. He came bringing a message of sacrificial love.
When the Romans were nailing Him to the cross Jesus could have summoned an angel army to zap the Romans and crown Him as King. He didn’t. And He didn’t need a crown, because He was already more than a King. That’s what the Roman soldiers didn’t understand when they fashioned a crown out of thorns. Realisation only dawned when Jesus cried: “It is finished!” Then the penny dropped and the execution team knew that they hadn’t killed a king but the Son of God.
It would be wrong to assume that Jesus was weak. Jesus wasn’t weak. He was driven by a love that overpowered any human emotion that might have found its way into His DNA. And in a world that is filled with choices there is no alternative that features such love. My conclusion, therefore, is that there is no other god, only the Father of Jesus. A God who despite His power and strength does not seek to impose His will on humanity, but reaches out to us all in love. We have a choice: accept that love or reject it.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:7-11 NIV)