On 14 February 1945, in the midst of war, Lent began in hope of repentance, ‘acknowledging the things we do that hurt ourselves and others, confessing our complicity in continued injustices, taking responsibility for the suffering that comes from our abuse of the gift of our freedom, and accepting our part in the destructiveness that threatens humanity itself and turns life to dust and ashes.’ Rather than repentance, the world engaged in reprisal and counterattack. Lent of Remembering this month in 1945, 75 years ago through the Chaplains echoed God’s words to Adam with a reminder to people as mortal, sinners, that one day we will die (Gen 3:19).
After five years of war especially between the Maundy Thursday, March 29, 1945, Good Friday, March 30, 1945, the Easter Sunday on April 1, 1945 was cancelled for millions in war ravaged world. On Easter Sunday, April 9, 1944, it is on record that ‘Helmeted American soldiers knelt during Easter morning services on the Italian Front as Father Gregory R Kennedy of Dubuque, Iowa said Mass for these men, who had left the safety of their nearby foxholes to attend.’ Unlike 1944 Easter Sunday, the last major battle of the World War II, the Battle of Okinawa, a final push towards Japan on April 1, 1945 was one of the bloodiest.
The war ended on 9 May 1945, when Germany’s armed forces surrendered unconditionally following the Battle of Berlin. Lent of Remembering, This Month in 1945 remind us that “The war to end all wars” did not achieve its objective. The reflection is that ‘the origins of human conflict lie deeper than any military or diplomatic solution could possibly reach. Indeed, the war that began all wars didn’t even begin on this planet. The book of Revelation tells us that this war began in the most unlikely place: in heaven itself.’ Lent of Remembering reminds us that we still live with “wars and rumours of wars” but Satan knows that he’s a defeated foe, and “he is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (Matthew 24:6, Rev 12:12). Satan’s agenda over the family, the church and our nations is temporal.
Satan’s pride continue to drive him to promote greater savagery in earth’s present and final cosmic battles in the families, churches and nations. With reference to the Book of Revelation, Lent of Remembering points us to the final battle, the war that truly will end all wars: “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them” (Revelation 20:7–9). War will end for you and I, the family, churches and nations as dust, and to dust we shall return (Gen 3:19). Sin and sinners will be no more, Satan’s lies, divisions, and pride will be no more. Every man-made war, epidemics, ideology, philosophy, and theology will be no more. Every Satanic deceit will be no more. Lent of Remembering, This Month in 1945 warns us to stop taking pride in our military or diplomatic strength remembering that we are dust and to dust we shall return.
O Lord, emotionally and spiritually turn our swords and spears into a ploughshare and a pruning hook.