Talking Point – March 2024

MY DAD, Jack Saynor, was a bomber pilot during World War II. He completed 38 operations with 10 Squadron during 1943-44, a remarkable number for a bomber crew at that time. He was shot down on his 39th operation flying to Brunswick. My Dad and all the crew managed to bail out, parachuting to safety. They spent the rest of the war in prisoner-of-war camps. After being caught, he was interrogated by the Gestapo and then sent to Stalag Luft 3. I have his logbook for all the operations he flew, as well as a diary he kept whilst in Stalag Luft 3.
The last entry in his diary, made on Wednesday 2 May 1945, reads as follows: ‘The first British tank arrived at 11.50am. I am no longer a kriegie so this diary comes to an END’. Signed J. Saynor. (Kriegie is German slang for a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II.)
As I read this entry, I remembered a conversation I once had with my Dad. I asked him about his wartime experiences as a pilot and in prisoner-of-war camp. I remembered him saying, “We knew we were fighting evil and we were fighting for the freedom of our families, friends and country”. Few would dispute that the Nazi regime was indeed one of evil, especially when you read about the death camps, concentration camps and many other atrocities. I often think about Dad, and many like him, who made so many sacrifices so we may enjoy the freedom we have today.
There is another we can remember who sacrificed His life so that we might enjoy even greater freedom: Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us Jesus loves us and gave His life for each of us (Galatians Ch2, vs20) so that we might enjoy freedom from death and guilt (Romans Ch6, vs23), from slavery and addiction (John Ch8, vs34,36), from fear (Hebrews Ch2, vs14-15), and from worry (Matthew Ch6, vs25-34).
Jesus sets us free to know God (Isaiah Ch59, vs2), to live a life of love – for God and for others (1 John Ch4, vs19) and to experience peace (John Ch14, vs27), change and transformation so that we can live the abundant lives He intended for us to enjoy and experience (Galatians Ch5, vs22). It is a life that transcends death into eternity (John Ch10, vs10)!
This week, as Easter approaches, I think of my Dad and give thanks for him and for all who sacrificed so much for the freedom we enjoy today and especially I give thanks to Jesus for the greater freedom He won for us all. Let me encourage you to reflect on these words and truths and spend time thanking Jesus for all He has done so each one of us can enjoy this wonderful freedom in our lives!
Keith Saynor – Pastor, Grace Church, Caversham

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