19 May 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. (Matthew 8:8-9; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
In the summer of my youth, I proudly stood on the Plain at West Point among my many fellow cadets and took the Cadet Oath of Allegiance. It was a beautiful summer day near the beginning of Fall, and my white dress shirt bore the smell of freshly starched cotton. I later took the oath at my commissioning to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. I still stand by that oath.
But there is a far greater oath that I have taken along with countless others to pay true faith, allegiance and obedience to the Sovereign who is my Lord, Redeemer, Savior, and King – Jesus Christ. This vow comes with eternal consequences. While we all owe honor, allegiance, and obedience to our civil governments and their laws,
in the hierarchy of laws, the obligation to obedience to God takes precedence over all other laws.
The Christian believer is every whit a soldier as those who serve in the uniformed services of their country. Like the soldier of the line, every Christian must overcome tremendous challenges and changes in both character and performance. His battle line is arrayed against a fearsome enemy whose forces cover the four corners of the earth. That enemy is desperate and ceaseless in his prosecution of a war of wicked intent and endless destruction. The enemy we confront has no Geneva Convention rules under which to engage us. In fact, he is restricted by no moral code whatsoever. He is after our children as well as our young maids and men.
The uniformed soldier must be relentless in the march. He suffers from heat, fatigue, and often hunger. The Christian soldier also suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and the ridicule of the world of unbelievers. Like the soldier on the march, the Christian has purpose and reason to hold his head high and shoulders erect. He is a member of a victorious army, and he knows it. He has the morale of a winner, and never flees in the face of battle.
The uniformed soldier must follow the Guidon Bearer on the march. He marches under the colors of his country. He takes signals on the march from the lifting of the Guidon. This is so very much like the Christian soldiers who marches under the Banner of Love (Solomon 2:4) and follows after the Ensign of the Lord his God; and they answer to the trumpet’s clear and crispy notes just as the as the field army in battle. “All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye.” (Isaiah 18:3)
During the fierce Battle of Shiloh during the War between the States, the armies were drawn up on line facing one another. The command to arise and charge the enemy was sounded by the bugler of the brigade. The young Color-Bearer of perhaps sixteen years of age, emerged from the dugout and across the field under withering fire. His older comrades lacked the courage of the boy and called for him to come back to their position. But the boy would hear nothing of the kind. He responded to their beckoning calls, “Sorry, the Colors are fixed and cannot retreat – you come up to the Colors.” Shamed by their own cowardice, the line emerged and took the field in battle.
We are Christian soldiers. Our Colors (Ensign) are fixed. They do not retreat, but press to take the mal-appropriated ground of the dark enemy. Too many today have dug themselves foxholes and refuse to carry the battle to the enemy. The Ensign whom we follow is the Lord Jesus Christ. He has surveyed the battle zone and knows the enemy better than the enemy knows himself. Our God is a Man of War “The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” (Exodus 15:3) and the Captain of the Hosts of the Lord. “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?” (Joshua 5:13-14) Our strong Command-Structure beats any enemy that can be arrayed against us.
Have you answered your draft call to serve?