Today we celebrate/remember VE Day, the end of the war in Europe 75 years ago. Some will remember the celebrations on the actual day, both the rejoicing and the context – a worn-out country, many grieving, an ongoing war in the Far-East and people in other parts of the world in far worse straits. It was a moment to rejoice – how can you not when five years and more of war in Europe is over – but it was not the end of the war and certainly not the end of the difficulties, nor of the mental, physical and emotional scars. Those of us who were not alive then remember with humility the suffering and courage of others.

Churchill’s words that first VE Day – “we may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toils and efforts that lie ahead” – seem somehow quite fitting to 2020. We are beginning to see the easing of lock-downs and the reduction in cases in some countries. Today the Bishop of Manchester has given permission for clergy to go (back) inside the church buildings to pray in them and to stream services from them. It is the first sign that we will at some point be able to gather in our churches – and as we hope for that we hope too to gather in our schools and our community buildings, and our pubs and restaurants and the homes of friends and neighbours.

It is going to be difficult and almost certainly we will have to restrict or limit again. Initially, we will still be “distancing” – some of us find the idea of masks disturbing even though we know they are helpful. I find it sad to think that gathering and sharing will still pose greater risks than staying away.

Older people will remain more vulnerable, and we need to find a way forward which does not leave some behind.  We may have to learn how to be church differently.

The theme for this next week is Jesus the Way the Truth the Life. How do we follow on the Way today and in the coming days and weeks?

As in past weeks, there will be a recorded service on FaceBook and Youtube from 9.00 am. Please do comment and respond – we do want to have interaction despite the difficulties. There will also be a Worship at Home service on the Team website.

Please send in any artwork or pictures or things you have made around the theme which we can share. We will show what has already been sent, in the hymns this week.

You may like to listen to the new “blessing” which has been produced by a mixture of many churches from all over England. Here is another sign of hope for us to enjoy.