It can be really frustrating when something that you think is certain suddenly changes. The Early May Bank Holiday has moved from Monday 4th May to Friday 8th May. This was announced last June, so that it coincides with the 75th anniversary of VE Day. For many people that was too late. Millions of diaries had already been printed, so check your diary to make sure you are not working on the 8th May! Many people had booked holidays around the bank holiday. Weddings have been booked assuming an extra day of celebration. I do not remember many bank holidays ever moving but recently we have had a few changes. In 1995 the bank holiday was moved from 1st May to 8th May for the 50thanniversary of VE day. We have moved bank holidays for the Queen’s Diamond and Golden Jubilee. There have been several extra bank holidays for royal weddings with the last one being William and Kate in 2011. When I was thinking of the original VE celebrations, I was reminded of two things. The many hardships endured during the war and the hope of things getting better after the war. Secondly, the plea not forget the VJ Day on 14th August. The two are linked to the end of the Second World War and are equally important. We are encouraged to keep the events of the past very much alive in the present so that many generations can acknowledge the sacrifice and cost of conflict. We are reminded to work for peace and never take it for granted.
What I had not realised last June when these plans were revealed, was the new order in which we now find ourselves, facing the hidden threat of COVID-19. We are to stay at home and not leave except for exceptional circumstances. We have seen panic buying of toilet rolls and hand sanitiser. We are in a whole new order where everything is cancelled except in emergency type situations. We are trying to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed. We are very concerned for the healthcare professionals who have to confront the illness, putting themselves in danger. We are trying to be good neighbours to those around in need without being able to be closer than two metres away. A whole new life that we could not have imagined. I do not want to draw similarities between what was happening 75 years ago and today. I just want to highlight the uncertainty and difficulties both events present.
I am reminded of the sayings ‘Men plan and God Laughs’ or ‘If you want to make God laugh just tell him your plans’. We have been reminded how fragile our plans really are and how we have to make adjustments for what actually happens in life. Let us remember that God is there at our most difficult times. It is always good to keep in touch with God through prayer. We are to follow Jesus’ example of looking out for the lost and lonely people to offer our help and support. We are to stay safe and well.
Rev. Martin Wood. The Rectory, Church Lane, Cheriton Bishop EX6 6HY 01647 24119 (Tuesday to Sunday) firstname.lastname@example.org