Summary: People lost their lives in various wars, and many loose there lives in the name of Christ. During the end times many dreadful thongs will happen. This is a brief look at our response.
[Slide 2 – Reading pt 1]
[Slide 3 – Reading pt 2]
[Slide 4 – Keep Calm and Carry On]
“Keep Calm and Carry On” This poster was initially produced by the Ministry of Information in 1939. It was intended to strengthen morale in the event of a wartime disaster – an invasion. Two-and-a-half million copies were printed, although the poster was distributed only in limited numbers. Quite what the reaction to it was in 1939 I have no idea. It was rediscovered in Barter Books, a second-hand bookshop in Alnwick, Northumberland in 2000. While never intended for this age it seems to have captured the imagination of the British people. Perhaps they have recognised something in their character.
[Slide 5 – Keep Calm and Carry On Products]
There are T-Shirts, mugs and posters and much more. I don't believe this is all marketing, after all if you make these things and don't sell them they soon disappear.
Its pretty much the same message that Jesus is giving his disciples as he talks about the End Times. He is saying that nothing much has changed in the world as we moved from BC to AD. There are still going to be Wars and revolutions, just as there had been in the past. Nations will fight and try to destroy each other. It was not new then and it is not new now. There are still going to be earthquakes. There are still going to be famines, There are still going to be epidemics or even pandemics.
[Slide 6 – Shoemakerlevy hits Jupiter]
There are still going to be great signs in the heavens. This picture shows the comet Shoemakerlevy as it collides with Jupiter. In Jesus time the interpretation of comets and other events in the night sky was very different from the interpretations we have now. Something like this would have been seen as a sign of something important happening on earth. Just like the star (whatever it was) that led the wise men to the new king of the earth shortly after his birth. In the mind set of the people of the time you could not have such an important person born without there being a sign in the sky.
All these things must happen before the end comes. Jesus' disciples are not to be frightened by any of this, but are to accept it calmly as inevitable and part of the process that God is going through in order to complete His redemption plan.
Perhaps we could put it another way:
[Video – Corporal Jones – Don't Panic]
Jones, of course is talking to himself as much as those around him. The message remains the same from popular culture whether you are in the seventies or the eighties.
[Slide 7 – Hitchhikers Guide – Don't Panic]
Its an important message for for people to receive in times of disaster. When a bomb lands on the bank during the war, or when your world is being destroyed panic will only cause things to get worse.
I'm sure there have been many times throughout your life when it has looked as though your world is falling apart. Sometimes that has been at a personal level – when you loose someone important and don't know how you can continue to cope without them. Sometimes that will have been at a national level, when you see a threat to your whole nation.
Some of you here will remember and have been involved in WWII. You will have been through the times when it looked like the Germans might bomb London to a pile of rubble.
[Slide 8 – St Pauls, Blitz]
You will remember the heroic efforts to keep St Pauls from being burnt down. You will remember the famine that resulted from the war, rationing and the fears that you might starve to death. You will remember friends and family who gave their lives in the fight, or who were killed by enemy action over our heads. These were no doubt some of the low points of the war for you.
I've recently finished a book called 'Bomber Boys' about the young men who volunteered to fly in the RAF bombers that bombed Germany. The statistics are appalling:
2/3 of Allied bomber crews were lost for each plane destroyed, it was higher for the RAF, who flew the more dangerous missions.
6 bomber crewmen were killed for each one wounded
Tour Of Duty% KIA or MIA
Fighters (300 combat hours) 24%
Medium bombers (50 missions) 48%
Heavy bombers (30 missions) 71%
Many of them, whose writings are recorded, believed in what they were doing, and believed in the ultimate success of the whole venture.
There have been other wars since, of course. Most notably for me the Falklands war. I remember thinking at the time that it was nothing more than a skirmish and would be over in a few days. How could a country like Argentina defeat Britain – with its professional, well trained and equipped military services. So imagine my shock when I heard on the radio of the sinking of the HNS Sheffield by an Exocet missile.