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Thought for the weekend

Rev Gareth Burke


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'One day, a man - a Roman soldier - came to Jesus, concerned about those at home. Not a son or a daughter, but a servant.' (Dave Thompson/PA)

'One day, a man - a Roman soldier - came to Jesus, concerned about those at home. Not a son or a daughter, but a servant.' (Dave Thompson/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

'One day, a man - a Roman soldier - came to Jesus, concerned about those at home. Not a son or a daughter, but a servant.' (Dave Thompson/PA)

Today is February 13. On this day 76 years ago, February 13, 1945, bombers of the RAF and US Air Force dropped almost 4,000 tons of high-explosive and incendiary devices on the German city of Dresden.

As a result of the bombing, at least 25,000 people were killed, though possibly many more. Estimates vary considerably.

It so happens that my father was a prisoner of war in a prison camp not far from the city of Dresden.

In his wartime memoirs, he wrote the following: "13th February 1945. During the night, we went to the air raid shelter we had constructed at the camp.

"The bombing continued for most of the night and, on returning to our hut during the night, the sky was aglow and we knew that Dresden had been the target.

"One of our guards came from Dresden."

I vividly remember him telling me about that guard.

"He went berserk, inconsolable, very distressed," he said.

"For a moment, we were afraid lest he should vent his anger on us.

"But we felt sorry for him. His family were in Dresden. He was worried about them - he feared the worst."

I recall my dad saying: "He was just a young lad - same age as we were. Caught up in a terrible conflict. With a mum and dad and a family like the rest of us."

Yes, a soldier worried about those at home.

One day, a man - a Roman soldier - came to Jesus, concerned about those at home. Not a son or a daughter, but a servant.

He asked Jesus for help. He didn't want Jesus to visit his house, for he said: "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.

"But just say the word and my servant will be healed."

Jesus was amazed at the soldier's faith. Strong faith.

Jesus responded to his request, spoke the word and immediately the servant was healed.

Jesus speaks to the crowd and challenges them about whether they have faith in Him like the faith of the Roman soldier. Strong faith.

And Jesus is challenging us today and inquiring of us whether we have faith in Him.

Faith like the soldier.

Strong faith.

Belfast Telegraph


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