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Make it today, not tomorrow

Thought for the weekend

By Rev Gareth Burke

Throughout the past week, various events have been held to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. In Portsmouth and in different locations in France, dignitaries made speeches and laid wreaths, and veterans recounted their harrowing experiences as they came ashore on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

You will have responded to these scenes in different ways. For myself, it made me think of my father. He was not involved in D-Day, nor in its immediate aftermath, yet the events of that day had great significance for him.

Two years earlier, in June 1942, while serving with the Eighth Army in the North African desert, he had been captured near Tobruk.

On June 6, 1944, he was residing in Stalag 3A, a German prisoner of war camp situated somewhere near Dresden. It would be almost another year before he was released from captivity, but there is a sense in which the events of D-Day began the whole process which would culminate in the liberation of Europe and the release of those who had been captured as prisoners of war.

Over the years, I was often impressed by the way in which my father spoke about his days as a POW. He would always focus on the camaraderie of the camp, the pranks in which the men would engage and frequently spoke about the rapport that they built up with their guards - firstly Italians and then Germans. I can still hear him saying: "They were just young lads like ourselves."

Sometimes he would mimic one of the Italian guards who, on being asked when the Red Cross food parcels were going to arrive, would always say: "Domani, domani - tomorrow, tomorrow."

As I reflect on that little incident, it reminds me of the way in which so many people treat Jesus.

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"When are you going to trust in Jesus as your Saviour and Friend?" "Tomorrow, tomorrow" is their constant reply.

The sad thing is that when tomorrow comes, nothing ever changes. For many, maybe even you, "tomorrow, tomorrow" needs to become "today".

"Now is the accepted time. Now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2)."

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