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Principled
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I’m writing this from Hastings and last night, an episode of Foyles War (which was filmed and based in Hastings) was shown. This episode was set at a time when the British nation faced great peril during World War 2. The Nazis had been sweeping through Europe, with countries surrendering left, right and centre to their cruel rule. The British Expeditionary Forces were in retreat and were being pushed back to the sea. We had suffered a terrible defeat and our nation was in dire straits, helpless in the face of a seemingly all-conquering enemy that stood just a few miles away, across the English Channel. It was an utterly hopeless situation.

Foyles War last night featured a few of the right-wing aristocracy who were so sure that defeat was inevitable that they were actively being subversive. A maid who had been influenced by them, after being caught cutting telephone wires, as an explanation said, “we ain’t got a hope”.

That made me sit up! Later in the drama, Dunkirk was featured and I thought again about what is called, “the miracle of Dunkirk”.

Before anyone starts having a go at me, I believe that war is always evil, though sometimes it is the lesser of two evils. What is certain, is that war brings out the very worst, but often, the very best of human nature, unselfishness and heroism. When material means have been exhausted and there is no hope, then people can be ready to turn to God. They say there are no atheists in foxholes.

Britain stood alone and defeated at the end of May 1940. During both World Wars, at times of great danger and utter hopelessness, National Days of Prayer were called. I wrote about the call to prayer at the beginning of the First World War, which resulted in the phenomena which was called,[url] “the Angels of Mons”[/url]

Plans to evacuate our troops were hastily brought together. Churchill predicted that 30,000 men could be lifted off, whilst Admiral Ramsay hoped for 45,000. It was accepted that the thousands left behind, if they were lucky enough to survive, would become German prisoners of war. It was clear that the British army would then be so depleted that surrender would have been the only option. Here is an account from one of the men on the retreat:

We had to march the final few miles to Dunkirk and as we got closer and closer we could see columns of fire and dirty black smoke coming from the town. Traveling all night had made us tired and hungry. Our officer led us down to the beach through some sand dunes where further down we got a first glimpse of the horror of Dunkirk and the true meaning of the word "RETREAT"
"TRAPPED" would have been a better word to describe the sight which met our eyes. We stood stock still in astonishment at the picture before us. There were lines of men waiting for evacuation by boat. Desperation filled our minds, fear and hopelessness left us speechless. We must all have been thinking that we didn't stand a chance and all appeared numb with apprehension. [url]BBC History[/url]

In those days, there was not the rejection of spirituality and religion that there is now, and millions of people here and in America joined in this prayer. Churches and other holy places were open all day and there was a steady stream of visitors praying for deliverance. On the eve of the operation, a national day of prayer was declared with King George VI attending a special service in Westminster Abbey.

Millions of people were praying, including Christian Scientists. I looked to see if anything was written about it and here are a couple of excerpts. (We all study the same Bible Lesson Sermon during the week, which is read aloud on Sundays. Interestingly, the subject that week was on the topic of overcoming hypnotic evil.)

“On Sunday, May 26, 1940, the English-speaking world was at prayer for the deliverance of the allied armies from Dunkirk. Two days later, unprecedented storms broke over Flanders, allowing the tens of thousands of troops to reach the coast under the storm's protecting covering. After that there followed, for days, a heretofore rarely known quiet on the usually turbulent waters, so calm, so secure, that countless small craft, formerly barred from the angry waves, were enabled to cross the water between England and Dunkirk, in their repeated trips to succor the besieged.” (From the June 28, 1941 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel)

“Have we not all marveled at the timeliness of certain sermons, worked out months in advance,…to meet specific local, national, or international problems? An outstanding example was during the evacuation of the Allied troops at Dunkirk in World War II…Dark indeed seemed the prospect of delivery, but the intelligent, loving prayers of the people demonstrated the ever-present Christ (Matt. 14:27 ), "It is I; be not afraid," resulting in an unusual calm of the waters of the English Channel and a haze over the coast preventing the enemy from using their Air Force to the fullest.” (July 7th 1956 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel)

(The story of Jesus walking over the turbulent sea was in the Bible Lesson-Sermon that week. If you don’t know it, you can read it here.) [url]Matthew 14:22 - 33: [/url]

“Those of us to whom the possibility of defeat was a new problem, well remember the Lesson-Sermon at the time of Dunkirk, which included the verse (Isa. 51:10 ). "Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?" How this truth was demonstrated the world knows and history will record.” (From the June 16, 1945 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel)

Here’s that Bible verse from the New Living Translation:
Are you not the same today, the one who dried up the sea, making a path of escape through the depths so that your people could cross over?

Something truly wonderful happened following that day of prayer. Storms helped more men get to the coast. The Germans mysteriously stopped their tanks 18 miles from the town (on Hitler’s orders!) and turned back, which gave the Allies an extra 48 hours to get to the coast and be evacuated; heavy clouds and mist prevented the Luftwaffe from seeing their targets, the Eastern Mole (the pier from which most of the troops were evacuated) survived constant bombardment; but the most unusual thing of all was that the English Channel was like a mill pond during the evacuation and thus all the little boats were able to get across to pick up the stranded troops. Yes, there were many casualties, but with all the factors above, plus the incredible determination of the Royal Navy, 342,000 British and 123,000 French troops (far more than the estimate of 30-45,000) were rescued and went on to fight again and overcome the evils of Nazism. The determination of the British people not to give in to hopelessness at the time of Dunkirk, inspired the Americans too and helped to bring them into assisting us in the war.

Churchill hailed Dunkirk as a “miracle” but also warned relieved Britons that, “wars are not won by evacuations ”. The UK had suffered a terrible defeat and almost all of its heavy equipment, tanks, artillery, and motorized transport had been left behind. Churchill then gave one of his most famous speeches to the House of Commons in which he vowed that: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!”

The phrase “Dunkirk spirit” has since become part of the language used to toast people who pull together in a time of adversity. People who never give in to hopelessness.

Continued below

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(@scommstech)
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A lovely piece Judy, and well written.
Nobody can say that it was not divine intervention that saved the day. Hope and prayer can have a profound effect, as many people are starting to realise..

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Principled
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Thanks Scomm. Good to see you're still around - it's been a while. 🙂

Judy

PS I've just noticed that the BBC History link above doesn't work and now can't edit, so here it is again:

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(@jnani)
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Talking just of prayer here...Sincere prayer receives.
Mostly people get too busy putting the world to right and have a running commentary in wake of big challenges that humanity faces. People are highjacked by an intense cerebral acitivity that involves observing the 'mess, great danger, huge catastrophic that awaits the human race and hence present their opinions, ideas, views, solutions....and these are our 'intellectual' and 'spiritual' folks....it is futile activity, waste of energy, time and completely the wrong thing to do.
The most practical thing is to pray. When the collective prays it is collective vibe. Get oneself back on track with divine order. Settle, leave behind fears, projections, personal views, personal solutions to the problem. I know...how impractical that sounds to the majority of people.
Our present understanding of things is pretty juvenile...old fashioned prayer is simple and still really cool. Way cooler than any wisdom we think we may have as healers, spiritual beings and the rest of it...

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Principled
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That's beautiful Jnani - I so agree.

It's when we turn away from what the physical senses tell us, sacrifice "me" to "I AM", get quiet, connect and and listen, that wonderful things are seen that have always been there in the first place - or something like that. Not possible to put into words - though you've said it very well. 🙂

Love and peace,

Judy

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Principled
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Again, there was another Day of Prayer called on Sunday 8th September, during the Battle of Britain. This was, as I’m sure you know, the decisive battle for us in Britain. Again, defeat appeared to be inevitable – we were hopelessly outnumbered. Adolf Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to destroy the Royal Air Force in order to gain air supremacy as a prelude to launching Operation Sea Lion, his planned invasion of the British mainland.

By July 1940, the Luftwaffe had closed the English Channel to merchant shipping. In August, an operation was launched against RAF airfields in southern England. By the first week of September, they had turned towards the strategic bombing of cities. The attacks began on 7 September 1940 and reached their daylight climax on 15 September.

On Sunday, 15 September 1940, the Luftwaffe launched its largest and most concentrated attack against London in the hope of drawing out the RAF into a battle of annihilation. Around 1,500 aircraft took part in the air battles, which lasted until dusk. All fighters were airborne and the situation appeared utterly hopeless, Churchill asked "What other reserves do we have?" The reply was none. I know for a fact that he personally telephoned the Christian Science armed forces minister to let him know that the situation was desperate and to please pray.

As an aside, I was thrilled a few years ago, when a friend gave me a small leaflet with words and music on it, titled, “The Airmen’s Song of Praise.” 3d (that’s 3 old pennies for you young ones) It was a hymn from our hymnal and the author, Violet Hay had given it to the chaplain of the RAF, who had had it printed as a leaflet. Knowing how often I had prayed with it during my flying days I just felt so grateful that those young men had such a beautiful and powerful prayer to take with them to the skies.

This is the third verse and the link to the whole hymn is below. (Mind, or divine Mind, is a synonym for God)

I climb, with joy, the heights of Mind,

To soar o’er time and space;

I yet shall know as I am known

And see Thee face to face.

Till time and space and fear are naught

My quest shall never cease,

Thy presence ever goes with me

And Thou dost give me peace.

Back to Sunday, 15 September 1940, during the Battle of Britain, when again, most of the UK (and certainly everyone near London) was praying.

After wave after wave of Luftwaffe formations had swept in, suddenly, the enemy planes started to turn around and head home. The weather again had played a part - a large cloud base had obscured London and they had failed to inflict severe damage on the city. That was the end of daytime raids (though night bombing carried on for several more months) and more importantly, that was the end of Hitler’s plans to invade the UK.

There’s a bit more historical info here:

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Principled
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And finally (for today) I was looking at some of the many experiences pilots have had when death seemed inevitable, but prayer made all the difference.

This pilot had a complete flame-out – he lost all power. He kept trying to start his engines to no avail, while all the time he was losing height. He wrote:

All of this time I could hear excited chatter over my radio: emergency calls going out and a nearby base being alerted to stand by with rescue equipment. Well, this wasn't helping my thinking any; so I turned off the radio and forced myself to sit back and earnestly pray. I became conscious of the nearness of God to man the nearness that comes because of man's spiritual relationship to God. In other words, I knew that the real man is the expression of infinite Spirit and is therefore spiritual and can never be separated from God's loving care….

…I tried to start the engine the third time, and this time it responded. I got almost full power and climbed to 30,000 feet. I flew back to the air station and made a safe landing.

The maintenance men found that through an oversight one of the two fuel boost pumps had not been hooked up and that the other pump had burned out while I was flying. They said that under these conditions it might be possible to get the engine re-lighted, but it seemed pretty unlikely I would have gotten back as much as 95% power and that I was able to climb to 30,000 feet. There was a general feeling in the squadron that something extraordinary had happened. [url]Confidence in God Brings Assurance in Emergencies" [/url]

And here are three other really inspirational experiences:

[url]"As a Navy aviator during the Second World War,..." [/url]

[url]"During the Second World War, I was a United States Navy pilot..." [/url]

[url]"The understanding that man lives in..." [/url]

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Principled
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A thought for today:

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope" (Rom. 15:13, J.B. Phillips NT).

Love and peace,

Judy

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Principled
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But it’s not only with protection when faced by the threat of enemy invasion, that prayer makes a huge difference. I started a thread on Weather, here on HP, a few years ago, sharing many of my experiences flying, when severe weather was forecast, as well as facing up to thunderstorms, knowing that God, good is in control of the weather and watching in awe as the blue-black clouds (with thunder and lightning) turned to grey, then white, then just dissipated.


A few years ago, I was helping supervise a church youth holiday in Cardiff. We hired a couple of yachts moored in Cardiff Bay tidal harbour. My cousin Peter was the skipper of one of the yachts and he forgot to take the keys with him one day, with the result that by the time we had found a dispatch rider to rush them down and everyone got into the boat, they were too late for the tide. (You have to get in and out during high tide.) It was already below the level that they could sail out and receding quickly.

Everyone stood on the deck and prayed, knowing that omnipotent Mind, God, was in control. The sea, which had been going out, turned and started to come back up again until they were able to sail out. Peter said it was amazing watching the sea level rise against the dock when it was supposed to be going down and he wouldn’t have believed it had he not experienced it himself.

Here’s something that happened in response to the prayer of Mary Baker Eddy (the founder of the Christian Science church.)

There had been no rain in the Concord area throughout November. The farmer who delivered Pleasant View’s milk told the cook that his well was empty and his cows were beginning to go dry. When Mrs Eddy was told about this, she smiled and said, “Oh! If he only knew, Love fills that well.” The next day when the farmer came, he was overjoyed to tell the cook that that morning he had found his well full of water. And what was amazing to him was that there had been no rain to fill it.

(From Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer p 157)

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Principled
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But it’s not only with protection when faced by the threat of enemy invasion, that prayer makes a huge difference. I started a thread on <a class="go2wpf-bbcode" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="Weather">Weather, here on HP, a few years ago, sharing many of my experiences flying, when severe weather was forecast, as well as facing up to thunderstorms, knowing that God, good is in control of the weather and watching in awe as the blue-black clouds (with thunder and lightning) turned to grey, then white, then just dissipated.

A few years ago, I was helping supervise a church youth holiday in Cardiff. We hired a couple of yachts moored in Cardiff Bay tidal harbour. My cousin Peter was the skipper of one of the yachts and he forgot to take the keys with him one day, with the result that by the time we had found a dispatch rider to rush them down and everyone got into the boat, they were too late for the tide. (You have to get in and out during high tide.) It was already below the level that they could sail out and receding quickly.

Everyone stood on the deck and prayed, knowing that omnipotent Mind, God, was in control. The sea, which had been going out, turned and started to come back up again until they were able to sail out. Peter said it was amazing watching the sea level rise against the dock when it was supposed to be going down and he wouldn’t have believed it had he not experienced it himself.

Here’s something that happened in response to the prayer of Mary Baker Eddy (the founder of the Christian Science church.)

There had been no rain in the Concord area throughout November. The farmer who delivered Pleasant View’s milk told the cook that his well was empty and his cows were beginning to go dry. When Mrs Eddy was told about this, she smiled and said, “Oh! If he only knew, Love fills that well.” The next day when the farmer came, he was overjoyed to tell the cook that that morning he had found his well full of water. And what was amazing to him was that there had been no rain to fill it.

(From Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer p 157)

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Principled
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More lack of water experiences:

When I first moved to the property on my own, it was evident that the climate was changing. For one thing the rainfall became less and less. Then over the next 25 years or so, a seemingly endless drought cast a shadow of despair over our home state.
As a child I often marveled at the story of Moses finding water in a rock, and wondered how he could have done that. Particularly, how he knew which spot to go to. Then, for the first time, it occurred to me that Moses didn't miraculously create the water. It had been there all the time. Moses had to be led, through humility and prayer, to the right place—to just the right solution. According to Exodus, God said, "I will stand there before you .... Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink" (Ex. 17:6, New International Version).

[url]WATER FROM THE ROCK[/url]

And this one is even more like the Moses story:

[url]"ABUNDANT SUPPLY EVER PRESENT"[/url] (or, “There is no lack in the infinitude of God's ever-present abundance”)
This thought-provoking article discusses starts off discussing Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and fishes, which you can read here: [url]John 6:1-14[/url]

John records in his Gospel that when a vast multitude had followed Jesus, he asked Philip, one of the disciples, how the great company could be fed. Philip contended that even two hundred pennyworth of bread would be insufficient. Andrew pointed out that there was present a lad who had two small fishes and five barley loaves with him, but dismissed this amount as being completely inadequate…
…The true idea of infinite substance was not in the number of loaves, but in the all-sufficiency of the idea which the loaves and fishes represented. This idea is inexhaustible…
Jesus exchanged a limited object of sense for an infinite idea, and by so doing abundance was manifested in the human experience…

And then it goes on to illustrate this principle:

A Christian Scientist was one of a party of three on a geological field trip in the southwestern part of the United States. They were working in a remote desert area and carried only enough water to last a few days because they expected to locate water in the region. However, after two days of fruitless searching for it, they agreed that they had no choice but to return to civilization the following morning…

He too thought about how Moses had struck the rock when the Israelites were without water and it had gushed out and reasoned that any law of God which was in effect at the time of Moses must still be in effect now and through that law of Love, every human need is met.

The following morning before the party was to break camp, the Scientist decided to look once more for water. He wandered into a canyon near the camp. His eye fell on a patch of green moss, about the size of his fingertip, growing in a crevice of a rock. Finding the moss damp, he struck the crevice with his handpick, and in a few moments, there was more good water flowing from the rock than they could possibly use, and it continued to flow the entire time they needed it.

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