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Steve Newbold1 
Joanna Leeds

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 46 v1-3
Today is VE Day when 75 years ago people across Europe celebrated the end of the Second World War.  After almost 6 years of hardship and suffering, and as the lights of London were quite literally turned on again, people poured out onto the streets to celebrate and party in a way that they had so longed to do.  There are now only a few members of our church who remember that day but we’ve all heard stories and seen films of life at that time. 

Psalm 46 was written to describe the security that the people of Israel had found in God.  It’s a great reminder to us too that God is our constant help – especially at a time of national crisis.  Today, we may not be at war with other countries, but we are at war with a hidden enemy - coronavirus.  Here though the Psalmist promises that there is a way to face every hostile situation without fear.   He reminds us that God is our refuge, our strength and our ever present help in trouble.  God is the one place where we can turn today and find power in his presence.  Later on the Psalmist reminds us that The Lord Almighty is with us.  If you feel alone or abandoned today remember that God is with you.   This hope upheld people in Biblical times and it upheld people throughout WW2. 

God’s promises are unchanging and he says to each of us – I am your refuge, your strength and an ever present help in trouble and I am with you.  So today, if you feel fearful, anxious or lonely remember these truths, receive his love and know that just as the WW2 ended so one day this current crisis will end and we too will be able to party in our streets.
The late Revd Richard Bewes who was a great friend of St Stephen’s, wrote a hymn using the words of Psalm 46, to the tune of the Dambusters March (theme tune of a famous film set in WW2).  Today as we give thanks for all those who fought to give the freedoms we now enjoy and as we pray for our nation, listen to this moving version of his hymn.

Prayer: Lord God, as we remember today, teach us the ways of peace.  As we treasure memories, teach us to hope.  As we give thanks for the sacrifices of the past, help us to create a better future in this world, until your kingdom comes.  Amen

Prayer Request:  That the commemorations of D Day today would strengthen our communities, even in lockdown.