As today is the 11th day of November in the year of Our Lord, 2012, you've no doubt surmised that the subject matter of our lesson today will be based upon some thoughts involving Veteran's Day. If you so surmised, you'd be absolutely right. I started this editorial off with the above quote by LTC Grossman as I intend to tie the thoughts expressed within it to some of my thoughts relating to both today as a national holiday observance and the observance of The Lord's Day.
Yes, today is a day of observance. Secularly speaking, in America it's called Veteran's Day wherein we observe and honor our nation's military veteran's for their sacrifice in the defense of our freedom. Religiously speaking, it's still a day of observance in that it's Sunday, the first day of the week in which we observe and honor the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. My thoughts today will center around these two observations.
Honor is certainly due to all of our nation's veterans. I am an unabashed and outspoken proponent of honoring our military veterans. I would love to be able to adequately express how much I respect them and how I feel about what our country owes them, but I'm afraid that my abilities in this regard is sorely lacking. So, to all veterans who read this and to the families of those who have passed on I simply say "THANK YOU" from the innermost depths of my heart.
As great an honor that's due to our veterans, the greater honor, nay, the highest degree of honor, is due to Jesus Christ. You may never have thought of it this way, but Christ is a veteran, and in reality, our greatest veteran. Why I say that is because He has already met and defeated our greatest enemy, Satan.
Let me enlarge a little on that thought. Our nation's veterans whom we are honoring today sacrificed in many ways, including much loss of life itself, and by that sacrifice, insures for us a "temporal" period of freedom from the powers that would physically enslave us.
Christ's sacrifice insures for us an "eternal" deliverance from powers that would also enslave us, IE: Satan and sin, which is his chief weapon. So, back to what I said about His being a veteran - He met the enemy and defeated him at Calvary. What better "General" could we have to lead us?
I'd like to return to some thoughts about our military veterans for a few minutes since this is their special day of the year. One of my favorite old black and white filmed war movies is The Gallant Hours and the setting is some naval battles of WW2 in the Pacific. A great actor, James Cagney, stars in it as Admiral Bull Halsey.
The battles depicted in the movie actually occurred at a time when our Navy was still reeling from the destruction of Pearl Harbor. We were facing a much larger foe in the armies and navies of Japan. It was in the Coral Sea area that it was determined that we would have to make a stand or else Australia, New Zealand and all of that part of the world would fall under the domination of Japan. Yes, it was time for a "stand."
In the movie, Cagney quoted something said by the real Adm. Halsey and I have always remembered it and have wanted to use it in an editorial. Today provides me that opportunity. A subordinate officer mentioned to him that someone was "a great man." Halsey replied, "There aren't any great men. There are only great challenges that ordinary men are forced by circumstances to meet."
What a tremendous statement that can be applied to us as Christians. There will be times in our lives that we have to take a "stand." Circumstances which we are forced to meet. Probably no chapter in the Bible better speaks to this than the 6th chapter of Ephesians. This is the chapter (vs 10-17) that tells us about those "circumstances" or challenges which will come our way. Places where we'll have to take a stand.
It's here that we find that we don't fight these battles alone. That we have the "whole armor of God" at our disposal when we make our "stand." (vs 13) Plus, we have a weapon with which to fight back against the adversary - the "sword of the Spirit, the word of God." This is the same weapon wielded by which our greatest Veteran, Jesus Christ, defeated the Devil. "It is written....!" (Matt. 4:3-11)
But, like all weapons, we must know how to use them for them to be of any use to us. In other words, we have to be trained in their usage. It is exactly for this purpose that we constantly study "The Word" in order to be able to "wield our sword" effectively. There is a well-known Latin phrase that I feel is fitting to use here: "Sic Vis Pacem Parabellum." The literal translation is "If you wish for peace, prepare for war." A more modern usage of it is stated simply: "Peace through Strength."
My application of this phrase: we will be better prepared and not as vulnerable when our constant enemy, Satan, attacks if we have prepared to meet him. And, as Adm. Halsey said, and I adapt and paraphrase, we're just ordinary Christians that are always going to have to face the challenges of "the Devil." And it is only through Christ that we are "great enough" to meet those challenges.
In closing, let me opine just a little more on veterans. There is nothing glorious about war. As Gen. Sherman said after the Civil War - "War is hell." It is my opinion that none of our honored veterans sacrificed their lives for glory. If I had to pick one word to illustrate their sacrifice, I would choose the word "LOVE." Love for our country, our freedoms, but especially for each other, their fellow soldiers.
Christians fight the "good fight" for the same reason - LOVE! Love of God and His Son, Jesus Christ and the sacrifice made for mankind, and love of the brethren. We fight to save our eternal soul and the souls of our brethren and fellow men. Going back to our preamble, this is the most "noble and worthy thing" we can do and is the most "honorable" thing because we are "defending" the cause of Christ, His Gospel.