The other day I watched a film that I had never seen before. It was called A Bridge Too Far. The film stars the late actor Sean Connery and was released in 1977. The film is about Operation Market Garden in War World II, which is the largest airborne operation in history. The operation took place on September 17, 1944. In truth, I did not know much about this operation before I watched the film. The objective of the mission was to seize a series of bridges by airborne troops which would then allow a land force to cross over the Rhine. This would allow the Allied forces to enter Germany’s industrial heartland of the Ruhr. If successful, the war would be significantly shortened. However, the operation was not as successful as hoped. There were numerous setbacks from the very beginning. Throughout the film, you see the airborne forces secure the bridges. The land force then slowly made its way over the bridges and along its route. However, the land force is not successful in getting to the last bridge in Arnhem. This leads to the Germans retaking the bridge, and thousands of wounded British and Polish troops being taken into German captivity. Many soldiers died in Operation Market Garden.
The reason why I am telling you all this is because I continually got sadder as I watched the film. At the beginning, I thought that maybe they would pull it off. However, they were not successful. They got so close to Arnhem, but they were not close enough. As I got to the end of the film, I realized that it was just going to be a sad film. I did not think that anything was going to change that. However, then something happened that quite surprised me. In one of the last scenes, a large group of wounded soldiers is sitting waiting to be captured by the Germans. All of a sudden, a soldier starts to sing the hymn “Abide with Me” (ELW 629). As the soldier sings, slowly the rest of the soldiers join in. This image stuck with me. This song is about the promise of our Lord and his presence with us in all situations. The Lord always abides with us even in times of trouble. It is a song of hope and assurance. This was a reminder for me that there is always hope even in the dreariest of situations. There is always hope because of our Lord, who abides with us always. Our hope comes from the Lord. So, as the summer carries on, there is a lot of hope. There is the hope that we receive from God’s creation. There is the hope that we receive from being with the rest of God’s people. The summer brings a lot of hope, and it comes to us from our lord. Let us remember this and let us rejoice in the hope that this summer will bring. Amen.
Peace and Blessings, Pastor Ethan Doan