26th March 2020

No Greater Love

“Now when the time was almost come for Jesus to be received up [to heaven], He steadfastly and determinedly set His face to go to Jerusalem.”
Luke 9:51 (AMPC)

The Victoria Cross is our highest military award for courage above and beyond the call of duty. This new decoration came out of the suffering, courage and fortitude of the Crimean War in 1854. The cross is moulded from the metal of cannons that were captured at Sebastopol and the ribbon is blood red—it says simply, “For Valour.” Only 1358 have been awarded since its inception 161 years ago.

On 22 August 2013, a 23-year-old lance corporal in the Parachute Regiment was on patrol in Helmand Province as part of a combined force of paratroopers and US Marines. However, the operation went badly wrong right from their landing by helicopter and most of the team was pinned down by incoming fire. The Marine Corps Captain took a round in the shoulder and needed an urgent Medivac extraction by chopper. Although the lance corporal was not part of the group that was trapped, he realised that he needed to attempt a rescue. With complete disregard for his own safety he charged down a slope that was being heavily targeted by the enemy; on reaching the captain he administered first aid and arranged for his evacuation. Then he took two machine guns up to the top of the steep slope from where they could be used to return fire to the enemy. In performing this task, he was required to make two trips weighed down by heavy equipment, and with the enemy rounds hitting the body of the guns he was carrying. By some miracle he survived both journeys and then returned fire from the hilltop which proved to be the turning point and that small force was able to fight their way out of a very dangerous situation.

It takes great courage to put yourself in harm’s way for the sake of others; to draw the hot lethal fire from many guns, taking that killing fire away from your comrades and giving them a chance to continue to live and to return to their loved ones. Joshua Mark Leakey was awarded the Victoria Cross for his brave and selfless act! Several millennia ago another young man called Joshua—Jesus in English—set his face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem to put himself in harm’s way; he wasn’t awarded a cross for this but was impaled on one for all our sins, was resurrected and given great glory by His Father and a name that is above every name. (Philippians 2:5-11). This also took great courage, a forgetting about self and even dying that others might have life eternal—it’s good for us to remember him too during our busy lives and perhaps follow his special example of putting others ahead of ourselves!

Father, please help us by your Spirit to become more selfless and serve others in the power of your amazing love.

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: luton@gracecom.church

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