504 Java Profile

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On Military Metaphors

As I travel, I always notice the military persons who are enroute to a posting or, as evidenced by the joy in their faces, on their way home. Having just observed two important holidays, Memorial Day and the anniversary of D-Day, soldiers and sailors and marines are on my mind. By the way, if you haven't been to see the National World War II museum in New Orleans, it is a "bucket list" item.

I was the "in between" generation, between the Vietnam War and the ongoing conflicts in the Arab world. My dad was a Marine and I suspect that if America was in conflict when I was of age, I would have been a Marine as well. These men and women deserve our respect and their families need our prayer.

The awareness of this courageous generation of men and women led me to ponder the use of military metaphors to describe our presence in this world as People of God. The hymn writers of old often used battle language to describe the tension of "in the world but not of it." Yet the political incorrectness of words of aggression--"us vs. them"--have made some shy away from the idea that we are an army and that the battle is the Lord's.

So when I came across the lyrics of an old hymn, Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus, I couldn't help but let the words sink in. I have signed up to represent my King. He has laid down His life so that I can have freedom spiritually just as the soldiers we honor on Memorial Day have laid down their lives for our political freedom. The language of battle is appropriate to describe the idea that I must identify with the army whose uniform I wear. I cannot waver in my commitment and today, the military language of this blessed hymn reminded me that I need to stop placing such a priority on not offending people, but to...well to stand up for Jesus.

I hope that you are encouraged and motivated by these words.

If you are by yourself, maybe you might even sing them. I did.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the solemn watchword hear;
If while ye sleep He suffers, away with shame and fear;
Where’er ye meet with evil, within you or without,
Charge for the God of battles, and put the foe to rout.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the trumpet call obey;
Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day.
Ye that are brave now serve Him against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, each soldier to his post,
Close up the broken column, and shout through all the host:
Make good the loss so heavy, in those that still remain,
And prove to all around you that death itself is gain.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.
To them that overcometh a crown of life shall be;
They with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.