Theme Verse for the year
Sunday, January 12, 2003
It is July 3, 1940. For the past few months the Nazi blitzkrieg has rumbled through the countries of Holland, Belgium and France. It is just weeks from the miraculous rescue of the British Expeditionary force from the beaches of Dunkirk. Less than two weeks ago the Republic of France was served with the terms for surrender. Of all the Western allies who had begun the war with Hitler, only Britain remains.
There is now just one burning question on the mind of Winston Churchill the British prime minister: "What will happen to the French Fleet?" If the French fleet should fall into Hitler’s hands then the combined forces of Germany and France would overwhelm the British navy.
On the French side the issues were equally desperate. They didn’t want Hitler to use their ships against their former allies. Yet they were now an occupied nation and they didn’t want to provoke their conquerors.
So on July 3, 1940 the British war fleet steamed up to Mers-el-Kebir in Algeria and after delivering an ultimatum they opened fire on the French fleet anchored there. Some 1200 French lives were lost as the former allies fired on one another.
The sad part of this tale is that the loss of life was unnecessary. Both countries would have accepted a compromise solution to inter the ships in a neutral port for the duration of the war. However, the failure of a single diplomat to communicate this third road to his government resulted in the awful confrontation that cost lives.
The role of an ambassador - great potential, great responsibility
Raymond Chretien - Al Gore was Canada’s choice
1. An Ambassador must accurately represent the character of his King.
NIV 1 Corinthians 2:1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.
2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.
4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,
5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
2. An Ambassador must accurately reflect the passion of his King.
3. An ambassador must accurately reflect the message of his King.