13th June 2019

Blood and Sand!

“But one of the soldiers stuck his spear into Jesus’ side, and at once blood and water came out.”
John 19:34 (New Century)

The 75th Anniversary of D-Day has triggered some memories for me. While serving in 41 Commando RM, I recall that in the early 1960s we took part in an exercise with a regiment of French troops around a small town called Sainte-Mare-Eglise. Our unit was transported to a spot just off the coast of Normandy by a Royal Navy destroyer. Then, at midnight, with faces and hands blacked out and armed to the teeth, we transferred to small rubber landing crafts and made a quiet and sneaky landing on a beach that was given the code name “Omaha” during the invasion in 1944!

Remembering that tense night I thought about all the blood that was shed there, blood that had soaked into the sand of Normandy where thousands had died violent deaths. In fact that beach was nicknamed “Bloody Omaha!” In the midst of all those explosions, clamour and fear, Colonel George Taylor, who commanded men on that killing ground, rallied them for one final assault with the words; “Two kinds of people are staying on this beach; the dead and those who are about to die. Let’s get out of here!”

Tragic times, but why did that sacrifice have to be made in the first place? One elderly French lady who had witnessed it all gave this answer, “They came to liberate us because we couldn’t liberate ourselves!” Yes! Those young men put themselves in harm’s way to set Europe free, to rescue them from the grip of Nazism and from abject slavery.

Now, as a Christian I can’t help but remember the blood that was poured out sacrificially into the sand of a place called Golgotha just outside the city of Jerusalem, as Jesus was crucified to liberate all humanity from the clutches of Satan, from sin, and from the fear of death! He put himself in harm’s way and offered up his life for all of us, scorning the shame and enduring all the pain.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all celebrated that rescue? Honouring the dead (Jesus) who invaded this world because he couldn’t bear the thought that we were being held captive against our will! But of course we rejoice that the grave couldn’t hold him and he is alive forevermore in glory. Revelation 5:9 says, “…because you were killed, and with the blood of your death you bought people for God from every tribe, language, people and nation”, and that includes you and me!

Lord Jesus, thank you for the courage and love that drove you to take our place on the cross; paying our debt and setting us free from the shackles that held us prisoners—glory to you!

Study by Cliff Neill

About the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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