Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Onward Christian Soldiers

As I mentioned before, I led the bible study at the NCYM-C annual sessions this year, on the topic of the spiritual armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20).

When I first brought this topic to my care committee, one member had some reservations. This person felt that the somewhat romanticized image of a soldier was no longer useful for comparison in an age of drones, smart bombs, and what Roger Waters calls "the bravery of being out of range". While I had it in my notes to invite Friends to consider whether the images Paul presents are still applicable, I never felt a time during the bible study where we should discuss it.

On my drive back from School of the Spirit, down I-85 from Durham to Atlanta, I noticed a billboard for the U.S. Marine Corps, featuring a picture of a soldier and the message "Dedicated to a Life of Honor." It came to me that I thought that it was an apt description of the Christian life, at least if by "honor" we mean "integrity". As I continued my drive, I saw two other variations on this billboard. One read "Devoted to a Life of Courage", and "Committed to Something Greater Than Themselves". These two reinforced the image I was getting of the Christian Soldier. Perhaps it isn't the hardware that makes the image work in our time, but rather the image of total devotion to that Spirit within us, calling us to a life of integrity, and to a life that confronts evil (spiritual forces, not flesh and blood) in ways that require great courage.

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