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Churches Together in Medway: Peace be with you

In a weekly church column usually published in the Medway Messenger, Graham Hill, who is Local Church Leader at Emmaus Christian Centre reflects on VE Day.

Friday, May 8 was meant to be a time of celebration for VE day, the day the nation took to the streets to celebrate the end of war in Europe, but with the Covid-19 lockdown still in place, those celebrations will be severely curtailed.

The reality is some of us will be in such a confined space.

VE Day party, May 1945, in Church Street, Rochester. Picture supplied by Lesley Cunningham
VE Day party, May 1945, in Church Street, Rochester. Picture supplied by Lesley Cunningham

In the Christian calendar we are between the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection on Easter Sunday and Ascension when he returned to heaven.

During this time the Apostles were in their own lockdown, being afraid of the authorities coming after them because Jesus was no longer in the tomb where he had been buried.

While they were together in that room Jesus appeared amongst them. "Peace be with you", he said, but they were startled and frightened thinking they had seen a ghost. "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."

While showing his hands and feet they still were unsure because of joy and amazement. So Jesus asked for something to eat.

They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. Luke 24:36-43 (paraphrased)

The Bible can guide us in so many ways. Stock photo
The Bible can guide us in so many ways. Stock photo

Over the years there have been stories of Jesus appearing to people either physically or through dreams and visions, many having seen a man dressed in white, others have experienced an angel in human form appearing at a moment of need in their lives that has transformed their life.

If Jesus makes contact with you during this time of lockdown in such a dramatic way, my hope is that you would welcome Him with open arms, hugs are optional, for he is above all sickness and disease. Just let him take the lead as he engages with you.

In the life of the early church there was a plague that swept across the Roman Empire and it was the Christians who cared for the sick, even at the cost of their own lives.

In Medway, St Bartholomew’s Chapel on the High Street at the Chatham and Rochester boundary was originally a hospital for lepers before the NHS was formed. Let us give thanks for the work of frontline staff during these difficult times and pray that they will continue to receive the respect they deserve long into the future after the lockdown.

Shalom peace be with you.

If you would like to find out more about Churches Together In Medway or what it means to become a Christian, please contact the chairman, Pastor Stephen Bello on 01634 920491 or rccgvictoriousfamily@hotmail.com. You can also visit the website here.

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